Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sailor Mouth Saturday: New

New seemed to me a very appropriate word, given the day, and though there are only a few references to it in that favorite of my Saturday reads, The Sailor’s Word Book of Admiral Smyth, there is certainly enough to expand on here.

“The new act”, which sounds like something our bumbling politicians are doing to us even as we speak, is in fact an old Royal Navy reference to a sailor deserting his ship. Less severely in the way of possible punishment, it later referred to a seaman slipping away to shore for a while with the thought that his mates would cover for him. As Admiral Smyth notes, “… though termed new, [this] is an old trick.”

A newcome was an officer joining a ship in his new position for the first time. Thus we hear of newcome captains, lieutenants and so on who had to earn the respect of the seasoned salts aboard us. Newgate birds were men released from jail – by the 18th century it was any prison or gaol, not just old Newgate – on the understanding that they would serve their sentences and usually beyond as deck hands. This term was used not just in England but anywhere English was spoken.

Newell is a piece of timber that works with rigging to hold the gangway for loading and unloading of men, animals and provisions.

The new moon is familiar to all as the “dark of the moon” when she lies between the sun and our Earth. The first new moon in 2012, coincidently or not, falls on my birthday.

“Do you hear the news?” This is a question asked of the new watch as they come to their stations inquiring whether or not they are aware of course, bearing, weather and so on.

New is, in a broader sense, the word that has stuck most tenaciously to half of the world as well. The New World was named so in the Age of European Exploration and many a place name still testifies to that. From New Holland (now Australia) to Nova Scotia and from Newfoundland (which was not “new found” at all when so named; the Vikings knew it well and called it Vinland) to La Nouvelle Orleans, what is very old was made new by the application of European languages.

How like divinity we can behave at times when we’ve no right to such claims at all. The whole thing brings to mind the characters Miguel and Tulio from one of my favorite kid’s movies The Road to El Dorado.

But now I’ve run off on a tangent and there’s only one thing for it: drunken revels and a wish of Happy New Year to all the Brethren. I’m so grateful for each and every one of you. Keep coming back in 2012; there is so much more to discover and discuss.

Header: Tulio and Miguel as sailors cum gods in The Road to El Dorado


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! "Miguel and Tulio... Tulio and Miguel... Mighty and powerful gods." Happy New Year to you and to all the Brethren, Pirate Queen.

Pauline said...

There they are; hilarious as always.