Posted by ESC on November 12, 2004

In Reply to: First Mate posted by Li Yar's Mate on November 12, 2004

: : Does anybody know the origins of the naval word "First Mate" ?

: The sea-dog who runs the ship be the cap'n - and he be surrounded by his 'mates'. As he needs a deputy when he is 3 sheets to the wind on grog - his best mate - his 'first mate' - is relied on. ye can also be having bosuns, cabin boys, powder monkeys and all kind of able seamen.

: It could be that the 'first mate' is the one he turns to by preference on cold winter's nights far from land and the company of either women or skate.

: weigh anchor & heave-ho me hearties!
: Set sail for the six seas!
: (there used to be seven, but we don't talk about the dead sea).

I can't tell you about First Mate. But...

MATE -- "A friendly word meaning two who break bread together, or more precisely meat -- two who share meat. From the old Teutonic word 'gamaton' -- 'ga' implying a conjunction, plus 'mat' for meat. Other people think it comes from the French 'matelot,' or sailor." From "Salty Dog Talk: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions" by Bill Beavis and Richard G. McCloskey (Sheridan House, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1995. First published in Great Britain, 1983).