Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Hog

The term hog in mariner's language is usually not a welcome one. It signifies either harder-than-usual work is in the offing or your ship is fit only for the wrecking yard. Neither of which makes a sailor's heart sing by any means. It is interesting, all the same. Plus, I am personally quite fond of pigs for numerous reasons. Not the least of which is they're delightful taste.

A hog is a flat scrubbing broom with unusually tough bristles, much like those found on wild boar. It is used for scraping a ship's bottom while she is still in the water. It's long staff makes it ideal for this sort of work which is almost always done from one or more of the ship's boats. It is difficult and - if you cannot swim - dangerous work indeed.

A ship is itself hogged when her ends turn downward toward the water and her waist or mid-section rises up. This is usually due to an unfortunate combination of poor construction and imbalanced loading. The term derives, it is speculated, from a ship thus afflicted resembling the back of a hog. Although I am always brought to mind of a banana. Banana-ed, however, just sounds stupid.

The wooden ship sailor's term for an iron-clad ship is, humorously, a hog-in-armor.

Finally, hogo is a slang term once used by English speaking sailors to indicate a reeking, ill-ventilated berth corrupted by the smell of bilge and/or waste. It is probably derived from the similarly pronounce French saying haut-gout which technically means "high style" but can also colloquially mean a bad smell. This is so typically French in it's sarcasm that it is almost beyond explanation. Evidently, British sailors thought so too.

A good Saturday to you, Brethren. Fine winds and a following sea (and fresh pork on your table, if you are so inclined).

Header painting: The Southern Cross by Roy Cross.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Oh sure, Pauline... some "magical" animal... Wait, the French are sarcastic? I have never heard of it.

Beautiful painting too, btw, Pirate Queen.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Well, you have to live with me so I figured you were very well aware that the French are sarcastic. Or, as we like to say back home, nous fait l'ironie.