Feature Word: Shanghai

Definition:

to force aboard a ship for service as a sailor; also : to trick or force into an undesirable position

Description:

In the 1800s, long sea voyages were very difficult and dangerous, so people were understandably hesitant to become sailors. But sea captains and shipping companies still needed crews to sail their ships, so they gathered sailors any way they could — even if that meant resorting to kidnapping.

The word “shanghai” comes from the name of the Chinese city of Shanghai. People started to use the city’s name for that unscrupulous way of obtaining sailors because the East was often a destination of ships that had kidnapped men for their crew.

Source:

Merriam Webster Dictionary

Blowing smoke up your ass

16 Comments

Definition:

to flatter, embellish, lie

Description:

The Smoke Enema:

Smoke Enema

was used to push smoke into a drowning victim in order to warm the victim from the inside-out.

“…A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke into the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase “blow smoke up one’s ass.” Search on “tobacco smoke enema” for illustrations of the apparatus.”

See Details

Filibuster

No Comments

Definition:

1. (Political) a. The use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member or members of a legislative assembly to prevent a majority-favored measure from passing.
b. An extraordinarily long speech or series of speeches that can stall procedure for days in order to accomplish the above.
c. A member of a legislature who makes such a speech.

2. (Military) A rogue individual engaged in illicit military conduct in a foreign land. Usually referring to U. S. citizens who helped to foment revolution in Latin America in the 19th century.

Description:

The word “filibuster” can be traced back to a label given to pirates who marauded trade routes in the 17th and 18th centuries.   It originated from the Dutch word vrijbuiter, which literally translates to  “freebooter,”  [vrij (“‘free’”) +‎ buit (“‘booty’”) +‎ er].

The term spread across Europe with the Spanish and French translating it into filibustero and filibustier,  respectively.

Americans adapted the spelling and pronunciation to “filibuster” and expanded the definition to include mercenaries engaged in illicit military actions against foreign governments, referring in particular to Southern adventurers in Latin America.

In the mid-1800s, “filibuster” became popular in the U. S. Congress as a euphemism for delaying or blocking the passing of legislation by taking advantage of the procedural rules to hold the floor for inordinate amounts of time.    Senator Huey Long (D-LA) demonstrated a particular talent for filibustering, reciting everything from Shakespeare to recipes for Southern dishes for up to 15 hours at a time.

See Details

Son of a Gun

No Comments

Definition:

A rascal; a scamp

Description:

During 1800’s prostitutes that would come on board the ships would give birth between the cannons. These non-crew members were called “son of a guns”

See Details

Shanghai

No Comments

Definition:

to force aboard a ship for service as a sailor; also : to trick or force into an undesirable position

Description:

In the 1800s, long sea voyages were very difficult and dangerous, so people were understandably hesitant to become sailors. But sea captains and shipping companies still needed crews to sail their ships, so they gathered sailors any way they could — even if that meant resorting to kidnapping.

The word “shanghai” comes from the name of the Chinese city of Shanghai. People started to use the city’s name for that unscrupulous way of obtaining sailors because the East was often a destination of ships that had kidnapped men for their crew.

See Details

Cold Enough to Freeze the Balls off a Brass Monkey

1 Comment

Definition:

Really, really cold!

Description:

In the pirate days, the ships were all equipped with cannons. The cannon balls were places upon a holder that were called ‘Brass Monkeys’ Since the metal used to make the cannon balls were extremely different from the metal used to make the brass monkeys, on an extremely cold day, they would contract at different rates (Different metals react differently to temperature). The cannon balls would literally fall off the holder when the temperature drop to the extremes. Hence the term.

See Details