Posted by Brian from Shawnee on September 06, 2005
In Reply to: Darning the waters posted by Bruce Kahl on September 06, 2005
: : : : : I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE" DARNING THE WATERS" I THINK IT MIGHT BE OF NAUTICAL ORIGIN.
: : : : Are you sure it wasn't "damming the waters"? As you know, "darn" is frequently used as a eupemism for "damn," which is pronounced the same as "dam." SS
: : : Darning the Water is the act of piloting a ship backwards and forwards while blockading a port or waiting for orders.
: : As in darning a sock, when you push the needle back and forth to stitch the sides of a hole together? SS
: Yeah, sounds good to me.
A colleague of mine, who is in his 40's and has a master's degree in electrical engineering from NJIT, had no idea what a darning egg was or what "darning" socks meant. I felt a little superior until it occurred to me that I hadn't seen or heard of anyone darning socks since my grandmother passed away in 1989. How long until the OED starts listing it as an obsolete word?