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Whistleblower reveals that 75% of nautical terms made up on the spot

PAPEETE – A former sailor has broken the code of silence among his peers by disclosing that most of the terms used at sea are simply improvised to mess with passengers and landlubbers.

“Landlubber itself is one of the oldest, so it’s in common use,” said Thomas Flanagan, boatswain of the S.S. Apocrypha. “but other terms like Boatswain or Bosun, they might just as likely call you Quippeteer or Aft Mainticle. The words they throw around are just jumbles of recurring prefixes and suffixes.”

Examples cited by Flanagan in his testimony were official sounding seafaring jargon, such as:

  • Abaft, Ahull, Ahoy – adding “a-” to the beginnings of nonsensical or other words
  • Bulwark, Bumpkin, Burgee – crew members pointing at things and giving them “B” names
  • Cabotage, Chine, Dromond – crew members making up words to win at Scrabble
  • Frap, Futtock, Gudgeon – making up vaguely obscene sounding words as a competition
  • Hawse, Hawsehole, Hawser – embellishing already fictitious words
  • Loxodograph – navigator messing with other crew to make job sound more important
  • Moonraker – not even trying to conceal cultural references
  • Poop Deck – an apparent attempt at a prank to get new crew members to perform degrading acts

Flanagan had numerous other examples in his written report, and authorities have assured him that they have Fast-Grapnelled the paperwork for a Stokehold hearing.

A spokesman for the S.S. Aprocrypha said that Flanagan, despite his accusations, is as “smart as a Topgallant, and will be promoted to Stevedore as soon as we get back to port.”

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