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Jumping Over the Side

Posted by Lewis the Lubber on July 16, 2004

In Reply to: Ship posted by Bruce Kahl on July 15, 2004

: : I was reminded of "jump ship" while reading the other ship post, could you tell me the exact meaning.

: : Thanks as always.

: To "jump ship" means, in a most simple form, "to leave".

: It can also be used demonstrably as in:
: "The publisher admitted to embellishing circulation figures to increase ad fees and most of the higher ups in the organization quickly jumped ship rather than face prosecution."

'Jumping ship' is more specific than 'leaving' - it means a person that flees an unpleasant place of duty. I think it comes from the Napoleonic era when the navy "press-ganged" (i.e. kidnapped) men for naval service. conditions could be unbearable and to 'jump ship' was to run away when there was a chance of getting to safety - when sailors 'jumped ship' they would be going somewhere - not abandoning themselves to chance as in 'abandon ship'.

it is different from going 'over the side' or 'OTS' which is to be sexually unfaithful - an expression particularly used in the police. anybody know the origin of that one?