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April 04 , 2008

A, B, Sea

A Loose-Footed Lexicon


A, B, Sea is an entertaining, comprehensive guide to the language and lore of 21st-century seafarers. This playful mariner’s glossary of nautical terms includes definitions for and cross-references to everything from aft to zenith, brass monkey to tuna tower. This second edition includes many new entries, some purely from the swashbuckler vernacular, and others for serious sailors. Packed with practical advice, this is a dictionary with a difference: many words are illustrated by passages from classic books of the sea, others by the author's experiences aboard an American schooner with a European engine and two boxes of tools. Sample entries from this informative and entertaining dictionary include:

Bermuda Triangle: Given a choice between alien creatures and bad weather combined with inept seamanship and navigation, you should vote for the latter every time. The US Coast Guard certainly does.
carry away, to: when any part of the standing rigging or a spar breaks it is said to have "carried away." What you say is probably unprintable.
seasickness (mal de mer): a form of motion sickness usually brought on by a feeling of well-being and euphoria. Reputedly comes in two stages: during the first you fear you might die, during the second, you fear you might not. The most reliable cure: Stand under a tree.
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