Posted by Henry on December 02, 2003
In Reply to: Shiver me timber. posted by ESC on December 02, 2003
: : : What's this odd phrase mean? Where's it from?
: : I can tell you that timber is: 2a c : a curving frame branching outward from the keel of a ship and bending upward in a vertical direction that is usually composed of several pieces united. And...shiver is 2 : to tremble in the wind as it strikes first one and then the other side (of a sail) transitive senses : to cause (a sail) to shiver by steering close to the wind. (Merriam-Webster online).
Shiver me/my timber.I can't find any authority to agree, but I thought that this was another saying derived from sailing ships. It certainly seems firmly attached to pirates. I think the saying represents the shock of a large wave hitting a wooden ship broadside and causing the hull to shudder. In other words, it expresses shock or surprise.