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  1. #1
    lukre is offline Member
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    like a yard of pump water

    Captain says to his lazy crew:

    You'll work right up and down like a yard of pump water or I'll throw you overboard!

    What does it mean?

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: like a yard of pump water

    Fuller context would make it easier. It is not a clear sentence at all. Where did you hear/read it?

    It looks as if the captain is trying to say "You'll work up and down at pumping the water or I'll throw you overboard"

  3. #3
    lukre is offline Member
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    Re: like a yard of pump water

    I see that the phrase itself is quite common on google.

    "She was like a yard of pump water, straight up and down, with her lustrous black hair piled on top of her head, making her look even taller. "

    "They come at you like a yard of pump water. It's difficult to writhe out of the way"

    "That Margaret is straight as a yard of pump water."


    But I don't understand the origin and the meaning. What is a yard of pump water?

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: like a yard of pump water

    "A yard" = three feet in length "of pump water" = water from a hand pump http://tinyurl.com/2xhqn5

    In the first and third of these contexts, it means that the person is tall and thin; in the second, that something is coming at you with force.

    It is unwise use Google as a guarantee of usage. As Google uses character strings in its searches, it finds as many incorrect terms as correct ones. It is worth checking on this for phrases: [DAVIES/BYU] British National Corpus

    Whatever it means, it does not fit into your original sentence with any sense.

  5. #5
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    Re: like a yard of pump water

    Anglika:

    The skipper's phrase makes perfect sense to a sailorman

    "Up'n'down" is a very specific report aboard ship. It is sung out by the man stationed at the hawsepipe while heaving anchor when the anchor chain comes to hang vertically down from the hawse pipe to the anchor still on the sea bottom. The "Captain o' the deck" acting under orders from the First Mate then gives further orders for actions required to bring the anchor aweigh i.e to break the anchor out of the sea bottom and get the ship under way.

    That something is "like a yard of pump water" means that it is vertical, because water issuing from the spout of an oldfashioned yard pump must, thanks to the laws of physics, fall vertically to the ground.

    "Right up'n'down" means "righteously", or, in other words, with a right will.

    So what the skipper - probably a "down easter" or a "bluenose" meant was: "You will get your backs into it, or I will throw you overboard". No sailorman would fail to understand that.

    Sam

  6. #6
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    Amigos4 is offline VIP Member
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    Re: like a yard of pump water

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Steenhuus View Post
    Anglika:

    The skipper's phrase makes perfect sense to a sailorman

    "Up'n'down" is a very specific report aboard ship. It is sung out by the man stationed at the hawsepipe while heaving anchor when the anchor chain comes to hang vertically down from the hawse pipe to the anchor still on the sea bottom. The "Captain o' the deck" acting under orders from the First Mate then gives further orders for actions required to bring the anchor aweigh i.e to break the anchor out of the sea bottom and get the ship under way.

    That something is "like a yard of pump water" means that it is vertical, because water issuing from the spout of an oldfashioned yard pump must, thanks to the laws of physics, fall vertically to the ground.

    "Right up'n'down" means "righteously", or, in other words, with a right will.

    So what the skipper - probably a "down easter" or a "bluenose" meant was: "You will get your backs into it, or I will throw you overboard". No sailorman would fail to understand that.

    Sam
    Nicely reported, Sam! Congratulations!

    Welcome to the forums!

    Cheers,
    Amigo

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