Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
prettygoodword
1word1day

Thursday word: marlinspike

marlinspike or marlinespike or marlingspike (MAHR-lin-spaik) - n., (Nautical) a pointed metal spike used to manipulate the strands of rope or cable when knotting and splicing.



A marlinspike with a lanyard (thanks, Wikimedia Commons)

Originally, a spike used while marling a cable, that is, wrapping twine (the marline) around a larger ropes to form protective whippings. Also used to separate strands of laid rope when splicing or forming eyes, to loosen tight knots, and as a handle for hauling small ropes (which get attached using a, wait for it, marlinspike hitch).

Thus, also, Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin books (in the English translations, anyway).

First recorded in the 1570s, and like a lot of nautical terminology from that time, it comes from Dutch. Well, the spike part doesn't (from Old Norse spīkr, nail, or other Germanic cognates), but the marling part does: Middle Dutch marlijn, small cord, from marlen, to fasten/secure (a sail), probably a frequentative of Middle Dutch maren, to tie/moor.

The attack came so suddenly that only a few sailors had gotten their cutlasses, and the rest had to make do with belaying pins and marlinspikes.

---L.
Tags: dutch, m, noun, tutonic
Subscribe

  • Wednesday Word: Nîcîwâkan

    Nîcîwâkan - noun. Nîcîwâkan is a Cree word for friend. To hear the pronunciation along with four other Cree words, watch the video below!

  • Tuesday word: Graduation

    Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 Graduation (noun) grad·u·a·tion [graj-oo-ey-shuhn] noun 1. an act of graduating; the state of being graduated. 2. the…

  • Sunday Word: Jardinière

    jardinière, jardiniere [jahr-dn- eer, zhahr-dn- yair] noun: 1 a: an ornamental stand for plants or flowers b: a large usually ceramic…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 3 comments