Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Moby Dick: Whale Words and Boat Words





I've only been on a boat about a dozen times, and most of those were on a kayak. I've never been asea on a big boat, not even a cruise ship. I've never been whaling (probably no surprise to you), but it seems like it might be a fun task to save and share a collection of the wonderful boat words and whaling words from Moby Dick.

Forecastle (pg. 4): the front part of a ship below deck, site of the crew's quarters. (Pronounced "FOX-ul")

Astern (pg. 4): the rear of the boat

Bowsprit (pg. 7): a pole extending from a ship's bow (front)

Cockpits (pg. 12): a cramped space below a ship's waterline

Man-ropes (pg. 32): ropes alongside a ladder that serve as handrails

Prow (pg. 39): the part of the ship's bow that is above water

Starboard (pg. 39): on the right

Foundering (pg. 39): filling with water and sinking

Fore (pg. 44): towards the front of the boat

Aft (pg. 44): towards the rear of the boat

Fathom (pg. 47): length of six feet

Keel (pg. 48): the lengthwise structure at the bottom of a ship's hull, on which the rest of the hull is built

Hold (pg. 94): the interior of a ship, usually the cargo area

Capstan (pg. 101): a vertical revolving spool used for hoisting heavy loads

Windlass (pg. 101): a horizontal revolving spool used for hoisting heavy loads. It was sometimes used in tandem with the capstan

Windward (pg. 103): the direction the wind is blowing from

Men-of-war (pg. 107): armed sailing ships

Halyard (pg. 118): a rope used for raising or lowering a sail

Frigate (pg. 168): a medium-sized warship that typically had colored pennants at the top of its masts

Keeled (pg. 172): capsized

Sounding (pg. 179): diving down

Gunwale (pg. 214): the upper edge of the side of a boat

Loggerhead (pg. 219): a post on a whaleboat used to secure the harpoon rope

Bivouacks (pg. 226): temporary encampments

Bowline (pg. 233): a rope used to steady the edge of a square sail in strong winds

Bulkhead (pg. 252): a wall dividing compartments of a ship

Helm (pg. 256): the steering gear of a ship

poop deck (pg. 259): an exposed partial deck built on at the rear of a ship

Heave to (pg. 259): turn a sailing ship so that its bow faces the wind and it drifts

Skiff (pg. 267): a shallow, flat-bottomed boat propelled by oars

Luff (pg. 282): sail closer into the wind

Trimming (pg. 326): adjusting the sails to accommodate a changing wind

Jib-boom (pg. 330): a pole or spar that extends from the bowsprit at the front of the ship

Rampart (pg. 377): a defensive wall, as in a fort

Eddying (pg. 505): floating on a cross-current of wind

Festoon (pg. 513): loop

Bearing (pg. 537): direction

Shiver her (pg. 538): make the sails shudder from lack of wind

Heave-to (pg. 546): drift







Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words 
that we’ve encountered in our reading. 
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12 comments:

  1. This is a great list Deb. I wish I had it when I was reading the Patrick O’Brian Master & Commander series. Though, somehow, by the 21st book I had absorbed many of these words!! I hadn’t realised how much, until I start MD and they all came rushing back 🐳

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    1. When I taught fifth grade, we read a nonfiction piece about whaling. I remember lots of these words from the vocabulary there.

      One nice thing about listening to the story while I follow along in the book is that I know how to pronounce the words, too.

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  2. Been on a few boats and cross channel ferrys. Even been shark fishing off the Isle of White but I also get seasick which is not much fun.
    Check out yesterdays bog

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    1. I live on the Gulf of Mexico but I've only been out on the water a bit. I get seasick, too.

      Delete
  3. I've heard some of those words but couldn't define any of them since I'm not a sailor. Jib-boom is so much fun to say - I wish it's a word I could sneak into a sentence.

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  4. Again, a great list. You are such a careful reader!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I had to do lots of extra things to really understand Moby Dick.

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  5. I'm afraid I'm not up on my 19th century whaling terms. Thanks for the nice list!

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  7. Interesting terms. I heard myself tell My Better Half today while I was washing the dishes and he slipped a dish into the sink, "You scared me, I didn't hear you approaching from the starboard." Then, I immediately self-corrected, "You actually approached from the port, didn't you?" I remember my dad, who was a career navy man teaching me the difference about the time I started third grade. LOL

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