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Are you sure?

Posted by Lewis on June 26, 2003

In Reply to: "Shake a leg" posted by P Schoultis on June 25, 2003

: : : Where did this phrase originate,, "shake a leg " so as to get someone to "hurry up " or do something quickly or right away ?

: Believe it is a British naval phrase sometimes described as a corruption of "show a leg". In sailing ship time, crewmen were permitted to have female family members on the ships. At morning muster, the non-sailor (that is females) "showed a leg" the reason they were not up and about, moving to their duty station.

Not saying that you're wrong, but I thought that it was the other way round - that it was not permitted on navy vessels to have women on board and that show a leg /shake a leg was to demonstrate that it was a man in the bunk. Mind you, they might both be right- one on commercial craft, the other on military.
(Not that wives and w h o r es were not smuggled aboard sometimes - it was never officially allowed, save for the occasional officer)