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Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

Article about: This is probably completely the wrong forum to start this thread but I couldn't find a better place for it. Following on from the thread on Ricks Cromwell tank restoration, and the posts abo

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    I will add a couple of sayings below, but first of all I wish to state that we need to remember not to offend with this thread - please think before you post gents. Thanks



    Now then, firstly "you couldn't swing a cat in here" used to describe a small, confined place. The phrase was born below decks, when a crew member was due to be punished by a dose from the cat 'o nine tails. Due to the lack of space, he would be taken up top where there was no shortage of space to swing.

    Secondly, to "show somebody the ropes" - to train somebody how to do a task. The origin again comes from life in the navy, when many tasks were performed by the operation of rope systems.

    And finally, "swinging the lead" - having it easy in the workplace. Another sea born phrase. A lump of lead would be attached to a measuring rope and lowered over the side of the ship until the bottom was met. This job was considered the easiest on deck, hence the use today.

    Regards,

    Carl

    p.s. Good thread by the way.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

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    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wÝyˇpeya oki hi sni"

  2. #12

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Oh, I didn't realise it was generalised to all with that surname.

  3. #13

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Quote by Adrian View Post
    I am interested to know why a member of the Navy with the surname 'Ward' is known as 'Sharkey'?

    I've tried Googling it but can't find any answer?
    My curiosity was stoked so I have done some digging and found out an answer. From the Royal Navy website (via National Archives) this is where Sharkey comes from but even they don't know why...
    After the nickname of John Ward (Yusuf Rais) (c. 1553 - 1622) an English sea captain turned Barbary Corsair, Ward was based in Tunis, where he died of plague. Precise origin of nickname sharkey unknown.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    'Three sheets to the wind' is another Naval one. Now refers to being drunk but originally the sheets were ropes/chains that were used to secure sails in place and if three came undone or loose the sail would flap around and the boat would lurch like a drunken sailor!

  5. #15

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Quote by Adrian View Post
    I am interested to know why a member of the Navy with the surname 'Ward' is known as 'Sharkey'?

    I've tried Googling it but can't find any answer?
    It's also been mooted that the name Sharkey(or Sharky) Ward comes from the name of an 18th century pirate who plied his trade in the Carribean Sea, a contemporary of William Teach, aka 'Blackbeard', and held in similar low esteem by the authorities.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Ready yourself for a long read with mostly vile slang. Courtesy of the Commonwealth.

    Appendix:Australian English military slang - Wiktionary

    Morris

  7. #17
    ?

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Quote by hucks216 View Post
    My curiosity was stoked so I have done some digging and found out an answer. From the Royal Navy website (via National Archives) this is where Sharkey comes from but even they don't know why...
    After the nickname of John Ward (Yusuf Rais) (c. 1553 - 1622) an English sea captain turned Barbary Corsair, Ward was based in Tunis, where he died of plague. Precise origin of nickname sharkey unknown.
    That's the one I found too but like it says - origin unknown......

  8. #18
    ?

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Quote by big ned View Post
    It's also been mooted that the name Sharkey(or Sharky) Ward comes from the name of an 18th century pirate who plied his trade in the Carribean Sea, a contemporary of William Teach, aka 'Blackbeard', and held in similar low esteem by the authorities.
    Who knows, coming from pirate/corsair origins, it might be a method used by the respective men to dispose of captured sailors. Throw them overboard, feed them to the sharks, hence the name Sharkey?

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    Another couple to add to the aforegoing:

    Another naval one: "The cat's out of the bag!" refers to when the "Cat o' 9 Tails" was taken out of it's bag for punishment detail.

    "Going off half cocked!" referring to jumping to, usually misfounded, conclusions initially referred to a premature or early firing of a musket, the weapon having a two position trigger, the hammer being pulled all the way back prior to firing, but it could be fired off when in the first or "half cocked" postion, hence the term.

    Regards etc
    Ian D

    AKA: Jimpy

  10. #20
    ?

    Default Re: Old military sayings / slang, any age, nationality or origins. Wrong or right!

    chow time , bed ck. snafu , fall in , KP , stockade shuffle

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