Posted by Gary Martin on February 07, 2000
In Reply to: Get Your Skates On! - Can anyone else confirm the rather rude origin of this phrase?! posted by Ade on February 06, 2000
: : : I was told that this phrase refers to the old practice of sailors, away at sea for long periods & somewhat sexually frustrated, copulating with the skate fish, which has a genital arangement rather like a womans.....
: : No, ten out of ten for inventiveness, but that's wrong.
: : It just means go fast, as you would when wearing skates.
: : Gary
: On what basis do you say it's wrong? The 'wearing skates' answer
is the obvious one
: but I was told by a friend the explanation of the fish connection & he had heard it
: verified by 2 separate sources - but only verbally, I was just wondering whether it was true.
: There must be someone out there who is a 'dab hand' at old marine sayings.........
I can't offer any corroboration of my explanation I'm afraid. None of the usual references list the phrase. Not that reference books are definitive in any case - they often just repeat received wisdom. I'm just relying here on plausibility and a "I've always known that" mentality - again not always a reliable guide.
Phrase derivations, while often bizarre, do usually have some logic though. If the derivation was as your informants suggest then wouldn't it be 'get on (or into) your skate'? Why would the plural be used? Copulating with fish isn't really my thing but I would have thought that one at a time would be sufficient even for a sailor. (Perhaps I live too sheltered a life?) Also, the meaning of the phrase is 'hurry up - go fast'. Its difficult to see a route from the sexual activity to that meaning.