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Never heard show a leg.

Have, however, tracked down what the hand of glory DOES, having been loaned the entire Harry Potter opus by One Who Shall Not Be Named-- that coming from the sources I thought, but purpose being a secret "flashlight," illumination visible solely to the carrier and not to anyone else.

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A small test then guys. Can anybody tell me about the term "show a leg"? 10 whole points to the winner jumping.gif

Trouble is in this day and age it's as likely to be hairy as have a well turned ankle on the end. blush.gif

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Was derived from an old navy saying to "show a leg". When ships would put in port they would restrict the crew to the ship to avoid desertions, and they would allow the married sailors to have their wives join them aboard ship. When it came time for the ship to set sail, the call would be made in the bunk area to show a leg from underneath the covers and allow the females to dress and leave the ship.

Actually, women were carried onboard at sea - the term show a leg was so that hairy-legged seamen (as opposed to hairy-arsed stokers) would have to turn to but smooth-legged women could stay turned in

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Churchll when made High Lord of the Admiraltily was asked abot sailing traditions. He replied " Rum Sodomy and the lash "

Actually, it was my understanding that when Churchill was First Lord and spearheaded the move to shift the navy from burning coal to buring oil in 1912 (whence many problems, of course), he was attacked for proposing something contrary to naval traditions. Winnie responded in parliament that, so far as he knew, there were only three RN traditions: "Rum, buggery, and the lash."

:P

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Guest Darling

One of my favourite naval sayings was "ship shape and Bristol fasion" coming from the ships moored in the Bristol Seven estuary, due to the large tidal range most of these vessels would end up on the estuary bed at low tide meaning that everything on board the ship would have to be tidied and fassened down before this occured. Hence the saying... amazing

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Hi

Just a quick addition, in between leaving University and joining the Army I had a number of jobs, one of which included working as a researcher at the Scottish Maritime Museum. The then director H Campbell McMurray, now a director of the Royal Naval Museum, told us his PHD thesis was entitled Sexuality in the Pre WWI British Navy, with a subtitle Buggary on the Dreadnought!

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'Limey', is derived from the limes carried on ships to curtail scurvy, rich in vitamin C I'd imagine then it being a citrus fruit. They'd drink the lime juice as a matter of requirement I've read in the past.

Perhaps not RN per se that though ! :blush:

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Guest Darling

found a new one last night, although not royal navy but still maritime. The word Posh as used to describe those financially better off came from the return journey's made on ship from England to USA, and the word posh would be written on the ticket to show that the passenger would ride (PO) portside on the way out to observe the views of Britian and America as they left and (sh) starboard on the way in for the same reason. cool huh!

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found a new one last night, although not royal navy but still maritime. The word Posh as used to describe those financially better off came from the return journey's made on ship from England to USA, and the word posh would be written on the ticket to show that the passenger would ride (PO) portside on the way out to observe the views of Britian and America as they left and (sh) starboard on the way in for the same reason. cool huh!

Although not strictly true it did refer to the passage to India rather than America so they could see coastline

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Although not strictly true it did refer to the passage to India rather than America so they could see coastline

Apparently, it isn't true at all a book, the name of which escapes me, dispels the Port Out Starboard Home as a myth. My original understanding was that it did in fact refer to the Indian voyage but focussed on those cabins which would be cooler on the outward and homeward trips.

Edited by stephen

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The earliest recorded use of posh to mean swank is from the 25 September 1918 issue of the British humor magazine Punch. In 1903, P.G. Wodehouse in Tales of St. Austin's used push to mean fashionable. Whether this was a printer's error or Wodehouse actually meant to use push is unknown (several later editors "corrected" this to read posh). In contrast, according to Merriam Webster the earliest claim to the acronymic origin dates to 17 October 1935 in the London Times Literary Supplement, where it is claimed to be of American origin. The earliest association with the P&O dates to two years later, almost twenty years after the word's usage was established.

Sourced at http://www.wordorigins.org/wordorp.htm

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To know the ropes.

In the very early days, this phrase was written on a seaman's discharge to indicate that he was still a novice. All he knew about being a sailor was just the names and uses of the principal ropes (lines). Today, this same phrase means the opposite ? that the person fully knows and understands the operation (usually of the organization).

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Apparently, it isn't true at all a book, the name of which escapes me, dispels the Port Out Starboard Home as a myth. My original understanding was that it did in fact refer to the Indian voyage but focussed on those cabins which would be cooler on the outward and homeward trips.

The book is called Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths by

Michael Quinion

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I suppose a natural successor to this thread are the innumerable words/saying in common usage that have their origin in the military and colonial experience.

Obvious examples would be:

Bungalow, (Hindi)

Thug (Hindi)

Khaki (India)

Bint (Arabic)

verandah (Hindi)

Pundit (India)

Shufty (Arabic)

Dekko (Indian)

Less obvious

Dungaree (indian)

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The book is called Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths by

Michael Quinion

False etymologies are "common as muck"! many, like "posh" are allegedly acronyms: g.o.l.f., f.u.c.k., etc. BUT acronyms are almost exclusively a 20th century invention because, among other things, they depend on universal literacy to be widely recognizable: scuba, ROM, and so on. Also, the false etymologies are often much more interesting than the boring old truth. :P

"Brass monkeys" were NOT brass triangles - this has been widely researched and disproven on another (1812 Royal navy) list. probably just a colourful turn of speech with no (so far) traceable origin. Cannon balls were not stacked on deck - think really BIG waves - but kept in holes in a wooden plank running below the railing (forget the name, not a sailor): ready to the guns and secure.

"Show a leg" - again, I'm guessing that canny old bosun's mates could tell men from women without a peep show! More liekly it simply meant "Get your legs outta that hammock and on the bl**din' deck!"

"Here I come, with a sharp knife a a clean conscience! Show a leg! Out or down!" (In extremis. laggards had the hammock ropes cut to speed them to the deck.

My tuppence worth and more!

Peter :blush:

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Guest Darling

This is all very interesting, i wonder if anyone can get back to me about the saying "going the whole nine yards" originating so i've been told from Spit fire pilots in the second world war when they knew they were about to meet their maker would fire off all their MG rounds which was about 9 yards of link for each cannon. True or falso, please advise.

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This is all very interesting, i wonder if anyone can get back to me about the saying "going the whole nine yards" originating so i've been told from Spit fire pilots in the second world war when they knew they were about to meet their maker would fire off all their MG rounds which was about 9 yards of link for each cannon. True or falso, please advise.

The answer below was sourced at http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-whole-nine-yards.html the I have looked at a number of definitions and this is a good summation, capturing the general sense of all the articles I guess you have see what you like best.

.To get a more plausible source we have to come forward to as recently as 1967. In 'The Doom Pussy (A narrative about the Vietnam War and the men who are fighting it)', by Elaine Shepard.

A storyline in the book concerns a letter to a serviceman from a sweetheart, promising him comprehensive sexual favours when he gets back home. His response to this is:

"God. The first thing in the early pearly morning and the last thing at night. Beds all over the gahdam house. The whole nine yards."

It isn't clear if the author coined the phrase herself, although the manner of its use in the story would suggest not. Ms. Shepard died in September 1998, so unfortunately we can't ask her.

Although the precise origin of any particular phrase may be difficult to determine, the date of its coinage usually isn't. Phrases that are accepted into common use appear in newspapers, court reports, novels etc. very soon after they are coined and continue to do so for as long as the phrase is in use. Anyone putting forward an explanation of an origin the whole nine yards dating from before the 1960s has to explain the lack of a printed record of it prior to 1967. If, to take the most commonly repeated version for instance, the phrase comes from the length of WWII machine gun belts, why is there no printed account of that in the thousands of books written about the war and the countless millions of newspaper editions published throughout the 1950s and 60s? The ideas that it pre-dates the war and goes back to the 19th century or even the Middle Ages are hardly plausible.

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"God. The first thing in the early pearly morning and the last thing at night. Beds all over the gahdam house. The whole nine yards."

It isn't clear if the author coined the phrase herself, although the manner of its use in the story would suggest not. Ms. Shepard died in September 1998, so unfortunately we can't ask her.

well... if he DID give her the whole nine yards... she would have died a lot earlier.... but I think he was probably exaggerating a bit........

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Wrong side of the Pond, methinks.

"The whole nine yards" is from American football-- the minimal movement forward for a "down" without which possession of the ball changes teams-- and would have spread that way. Not an English expression.

The meaning is to carry something forward to satisfactory completion.

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Wrong side of the Pond, methinks.

"The whole nine yards" is from American football-- the minimal movement forward for a "down" without which possession of the ball changes teams-- and would have spread that way. Not an English expression.

The meaning is to carry something forward to satisfactory completion.

Don't think there was an implication that it was in fact a British saying! Equally, a quick scout around the web doesn't really confirm that the phrase has it's origins in American Football since I understand that 10 yards are required.

"This phrase is of unknown origin and is the subject of some debate. At issue is to what does nine yards refer. The meaning is clearly the entirety or everything, but nine yards is not a significant measure of anything. All we know about its origin is that the phrase cannot be traced any earlier than the mid-1960s" and that it is American in origin. see http://www.wordorigins.org/wordorw.htm

Perhaps there should be prize for the most plausible answer

Edited by stephen

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Well, I assumed the obvious answer of the three sails (hung from YARDS) of the three masts of a full square rigged ship was too obvious, being a landlubber. :blush:

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Well, I assumed the obvious answer of the three sails (hung from YARDS) of the three masts of a full square rigged ship was too obvious. :blush:

Rick,

Apparently so. Nor does it seem that shrouds, kilts or cement provide the correct etymology for this phrase!

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