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Teri Degler. Illustrated by Tina Holdcroft.
Saskatoon, SK: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1989.
113pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88833-288-2. CIP.

Subject Headings:
English language-Terms and phrases.
English language-Etymology.
Naval art and science-Terminology.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Neil V. Payne.

Volume 17 Number 5
1989 September

While learning to sail recently, the author became fascinated by the many familiar phrases that are of nautical origin. "Down the hatch," "get your bearings," and "lower the boom" would be recognized as boat-related terms by most people, but other expressions, like "the devil to pay," "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey," "son of a gun," and "three sheets to the wind," are not generally thought of as relating to the sea. Degler collected words and phrases in common usage that had originated in the daily life of sailors and had then been carried ashore to be used by the general population, often with no understanding of its original meaning. The result is an interesting, humorous, and fun-filled book. The illustrations are excellent, the cartoon-like drawings of "jack tars" at work and play are alone worth the price of the book.

This book is not, nor is it intended to be, the definitive study of word origins relating to the sea. However, solid research has been conducted on the words and phrases included and a good bibliography is provided for those who wish to dig deeper.

This delightful little book is highly recommended for all high school and public libraries, but it will also be of interest for college and university English courses.

Neil V. Payne, Kingston Collegiate V.I., Kingston, ON.
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