Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Hove

According to our old friend Webster's, the word hove is either the alternative past tense and past participle of heave or an obscure word meaning to rise, to swell or to cause to rise or swell. Take your pick. At sea, though the term does have a bit of those definition's ring, hove is its own word all together.

When a ship is hove out she is ready for careening. In some cases this is referred to as careened or hove down. In this position, she is heeled on her side not necessarily for careening but for repairs as well. She may also land in a hove down position when wrecked, as in the above painting. A ship is hove up when she is brought into cradles on the docks and hove off when she is suspended completely above ground. She is hove keel out when she is virtually on her side at sea, with her keel above the water.

A ship is hove in stays when in the process of going about. Hove in sight means the ship's anchor is in view, but it can also mean that a sail has been spotted. Hove short indicates a taught anchor cable while hove well short refers to a ship drawn to her anchor be the action of men at her capstan.

Hove to, perhaps the most familiar sounding term of this batch, is synonymous with heaving to; i.e., the ship decelerating and coming to a halt at sea. Admiral Smyth makes a good point about this turn of phrase in The Sailor's Word Book:

It is curious to observe that seamen have retained an old word which has otherwise been long disused. It occurs in Grafton's Chronicle, where the mayor and aldermen of London, in 1256, understanding that Henry III was coming to Westminster from Windsor, went to Knightsbridge, "and hoved there to salute the king."

The term in this instance had nothing to do with seafaring. It simply described public figures waiting to see their King. Seamen, in some cases to this day, continue to use hove to or hoved to mean stopping.

Hovellers were boatmen or pilots, usually unlicensed, in the Cinque-Ports regions of England. Though they were, in theory, only ferrying people from ship to shore or piloting larger ships through dangerous shoals, much of their business was illegal. They engaged in the plundering of wrecked ships and in smuggling. In fact the act of smuggling was often referred to as hovering during the Tudor and Stuart eras.

With that, I'll hove to and wish all the Brethren a fair Saturday.

Header: The Wreckers by Charles Henry Gifford via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

I like hove as the past tense of heave, Pauline...

"Did you heave that wood from the neighbor's yard?"

Yes, I hove it onto my porch."


Pauline said...

Well said indeed. And while you hoved, the rest of us sat warm and dry in the living room, being no help whatsoever.

Charles L. Wallace said...

Hove. It's a seaside town on the Channel, right next to Brighton; the resulting conurbation is officially "Brighton and Hove"...

I first knew of the combination from Brighton and Hove Albion (the Seagulls), whom I notice in English football scores occasionally (wonderful names there!).

From what I can tell, Hove was a church parish at its earliest, and the name came into general usage for the local area until accepted by the government. Perhaps some dignitaries hovered there, once upon a time?

Inhabitants telling where they are from often say "Brighton... well, Hove, actually." "Hove, actually" is now a touristy slogan of the ad agency tasked with bringing people to visit.

I hear they have rather new housing in the area: not hovels, actually ;-) hahaha!

Pauline said...

Good to hear from you, Wally; another great story. Hove, actually may need to go into the lexicon around here.

Thank you for, once again, adding so much to Triple P.

Charles L. Wallace said...

It's my pleasure to be back :-D Thankee for the kind words, too :-)