Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions [NOOK Book]


Most of us never realise how many words and expressions used in
everyday English have a nautical origin. This fascinating and charming
pocket book explains the seafaring beginnings of over 200 such phrases - colourful, bizarre and surprising - and how they came ashore.

Just a few examples are:

Chance your arm
Money for old rope
Spic and span
Push the boat out
At close quartersThis entertaining book has been a popular title for boaters and landlubbers alike, ever since first publication in 1983.

'Good fun' Yachts and Yachting
‘Entertaining, informative, educational and lots of fun' Multihull International
An entertaining and informative little book' Motor Boats Monthly
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Those interested in word etymology might be surprised to find that some common English phrases have nautical origin. In Bill Beavis and Richard McCloskey's Salty Dog Talk, the origins of such expressions as no room to swing a cat (referring to either lack of flogging room, lack of room for a sailing collier to swing at anchor, or a derivation of cot, a sailor's name for his hammock) are discussed, supplemented by Beavis' whimsical cartoons. The pocket-sized book contains more than 20 phrases and describes how they came ashore.

Bill Beavis was a seaman turned journalist, and Richard McCloskey is a marine historian.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781472901477
  • Publication date: 9/19/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,117,755
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Bill Beavis was a seaman turned journalist who had long been interested in nautical etymology. He died a number of years ago.

Richard McCloskey is a distinguished American marine historian.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2003

    Enlightening, light and enjoyable

    I never knew all of those expressions had nautical roots. This light-reference book is enjoyable to scim though. After reading it, I must try to avoid being the pest who interupts conversations by saying something like 'Ya know, that expression originated from the Polynesian sailors who....' This cute little book will reside on the table at our seaside cabin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)