The Sailor's Word-Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms
Admiral William Henry Smyth (1780-1865) went to sea at an early age, becoming a sailor and surveyor with the East India Company, and later moving to Mediterranean waters. A founding member of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830, he spent much of his free time engaged in scientific pursuits. One of his final projects was this 'word-book' of nautical terminology, which he had been compiling throughout his career, and whose publication was eagerly anticipated by his fellow naval officers. Although Smyth died before it was published in 1867, his notes were edited by his family and revised by Sir Edward Belcher (1799-1877). Ranging from technical terminology to sailors' slang, Smyth's glossary contains more than 700 pages of definitions, arranged alphabetically, making it an indispensable source on nineteenth-century nautical vocabulary for both maritime historians and sailing aficionados.
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abaft admiralty anchor ancient angle Anglo-Saxon applied beam block boat body bolt-rope bolted boom bottom bowline bowsprit cable called canvas capstan captain cargo carry casks coast conﬁned crew deck distance duty ecliptic fastened feet ﬁgure ﬁne ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁsh ﬁshing ﬁt ﬁtted ﬁxed ﬂag ﬂat ﬂeet ﬂoating ﬂoor fore forecastle formerly fortiﬁcation gale gunwale harbour haul head heaving hoisted holes hook horizon iron keel land lower mainsail man-of-war marine mast means name given nautical nautical star naval navigation navy oakum oars oﬁicer oﬂicer old term old word passing planks port prevent rigging river rope round royal royal navy rudder running running rigging sail scarphed seamen secured ship ship’s side shore shot signiﬁes spar stars staysail stem stern Synonymous tack tackle tide timber topmast upper vessel weather whale wind Windlass windward wood yards