Posted by ESC on April 09, 2000
In Reply to: Coral posted by jon on April 09, 2000
: This is a very old phrase - some hundreds of years at least. My pal Dr Smith has noted it on his WWW page - Archaic Medical terms for Genealogists but has not been able to track it down. He suspects it may be Shakesperean. Somebody said they found it mentioned again in Treasure Island. I looked and guessed it may mean drowning; then again it may refer to battle at sea?
There's a reference in Shakespeare to a "sea change" where a person's body is transformed, or maybe replaced is a better word, with various items from the sea.