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Re: Darning the waters

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on September 06, 2005

In Reply to: Re: 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?