Technical Terms with Intersting Orgins

Studying about improved high lift safety valves I come across a new word which I like very much:

Dirling (as in dirling action, a description of how the valve should operate). Also spelled ‘dyrlyng’. An old Scottish word for a thrilling sensation or vibrating motion. Used to describe the feeling of being in love.

Any more technical terms with interesting origins?

The noise the anchor makes when it hits the water.

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Don’t be sorry, unless you don’t know the sound it makes when it comes back up. Then you aught to be.

I’m surprised you didn’t include the “huddling” chamber.

Snifter valve … the sound it makes when functioning.

Grasshopper. The connecting rod of particular style of beam engine.

Peckerhead … the wiring junction box on a motor or generator … comes from an old term “pickerhead” part of a fruit picking basket among other applications.

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So much of our language comes from seafaring.

POSH - Port Out, Stbd Home.

I think that’s been debunked.

But backronyms are great. Learned one today.

ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming.



This lot is a good mardle. (Old word from East Anglia meaning to waste time)


Found while thumbing through a book before I say goodbye to it:

Galley Wireless: Gossip
Glory Hole: The steward’s cabin on a liner or the fireman’s on a coal fired steamer.

what, actually?? Sometimes I feel so naive.

Tab Nab: cake or bun served with afternoon tea.
Tanker: a vessel designed to carry liquid cargoes in bulk. There are oil tankers, spirit tankers, molasses tankers, wine tankers, milk tankers, and water tankers.

Milk tankers… its a fine line between a milk tanker and a cheese tanker I reckon. eew. Where do I sign up for the wine tankers?

And forego the spirit tanker? You call yourself a sailor? :dizzy_face:

I know… but I was just worried that a spirit tanker might turn out to be methanol. I don’t want to be made a sucker.

Or go blind.

I guess I’m just a romantic and picture alternating tanks of Glenmorangie and Pappy Van Winkle.

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I think scotch might be bad luck cargo: too many misguided people think it should be on the rocks. We can have a scotch tanker, but never on the rocks.

I think it was the SS Politician in the 40s that proves my point.

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“Dynamiting whisky. You wouldn’t think there’d be men in the world so crazy as that!”


Here is another impromptu salvage operation. This time in Australia:
Some locals from Townsville “liberated” part of the cargo from the “Slidre Timur” after she run onto Parker Reef in Febr. 1971:
Here is some pictures of her taken at the time:

More of this story here:

PS> I was Chief Officer on this vessel in 1969-70 and left her in Port Moresby a few months before this grounding.

Don’t forget the beer tankers.

I remember 20’ tank containers on deck, marked with the Johnny Walker Red logo, when I was on the SL-7, the Sealand Resource in 1980.