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Soundings: An Interdisciplinary JournalThose 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.