Skip to comments.Word For The Day, Wednesday, February 12, 2014-- copper-bottomed
Posted on 02/12/2014 5:20:28 AM PST by TruthShallSetYouFree
Word For The Day, Wednesday, February 12, 2014-- copper-bottomed
In order that we might all raise the level of discourse and expand our language abilities, here is the daily post of "Word for the Day".
reliable, esp financially reliable, genuine, trustworthy
Origin: (from The Phrase Finder)
If you come across something that is copper-bottomed these days, it is most likely to be a saucepan. In the 18th century, it would have been a ship. It is unusual for an idiomatic phrase to have such a literal derivation as this. 'Copper-bottomed' described ships that were fitted with copper plating on the underside of their hulls. The process was first used on ships of the British Navy in 1761 to defend their wooden planking against attack by Teredo worms a.k.a. Shipworms (actually a type of bivalve clam) and to reduce infestations by barnacles.
The method was successful in protecting ships' timbers and in increasing speed and manoeuvrability and soon became widely used. This piece from The London Magazine, March 1781, records the introduction of its use on all the ships of the Royal Navy:
Admiral Keppel made a remark upon copper bottomed ships. He said they gave additional strength to the navy and he reproached Lord Sandwich with having refused to sheath only a few ships with copper at his request, when he had since ordered the whole navy to be sheathed.
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, may have been otherwise occupied. He is said to have once spent twenty-four hours at the gaming-table without refreshment other than some cold beef placed between slices of toast - hence giving name to the sandwich.
Before long, 'copper-bottomed' began to be used figuratively to refer to anything that was certain and trustworthy. Washington Irving, in his work Salmagundi, 1807, included this line:
"The copper-bottomed angel at Messrs. Paff's in Broadway."
It wasn't all plain sailing. Pay attention at the back, here's the science bit:
Copper and iron, when immersed in a suitable electrolytic fluid, like fruit juice or, at a pinch, seawater, form an electrochemical couple and the arrangement becomes a serviceable galvanic battery. Over time, the iron is eaten away to nothing by the electrochemical action. That wasn't good news for mariners who fixed their boat's copper plates using iron nails - the iron eroded and the plates went to visit Davy Jones. Copper nails were the answer and soon afterwards ships began to be described not only as copper-bottomed but also copper-fastened. Such technically top-of-the-range ships were well thought of; an example is found in the 9th July 1796 edition of The Hull Advertiser:
She is copper-fastened and copper-bottomed, and a remarkable fine ship.
The expression 'copper-fastened' was and is used quite infrequently and is often wrongly taken to be a simple misstating of 'copper-bottomed'. Its meaning is similar but with the emphasis on security and lack of any ambiguity, rather than of certainty and trustworthiness. It had to wait longer to be taken into metaphorical use - until the 20th century in fact. An example of such is to be found in The Evening Independent, November 1948:
We had some striking examples of what happens when a guy gets so big for his britches that any pal of his is automatically a copper-fastened genius.
Rules: Everyone must leave a post using the Word for the Day in a sentence.
The sentence must, in some way, relate to the news of the day.
I am leaving the cold weather here in Texas and heading to the even more frigid climes of New Jersey. So get that homework in before I head to the airport at 11 a.m. central time.
--Lyrical excerpt from Meredith Wilson's "Seventy-six Trombones" Read more: Soundtrack Artists - Seventy-six Trombones Lyrics | MetroLyrics
America demands Justice for the Fallen of Benghazi!
When a copper-bottomed ship REALLY got going out in a great breeze, the ship would often be so keeled over in the effort that her copper would show on the high (windward) side.
Oh, you gonna take me home tonight?
Oh, down beside the red firelight
Oh, you gonna let it all hang out
Copper-bottomed girls, you make the rocking world go round!
safe travel truthy, you will be back in time for the next CATASTROPHIC storm! xsteen en route to NYC via amtrak, coming back tonight and xshub due in tonight from Dallas, hope that he beats the snow. Friday we have to make the trek to SU no matter what, for senior night at the 6:30 pm hockey game. by hook or by crook!
And just for the record, the one way a copper bottom could have helped is if it kept growth from taking hold of the hull, spoiling her hydrodynamics and slowing her down. Then she may have had the speed to make the 15 miles to Whitefish Bay, which the searchers generally agree would have saved her. This assumes she was a wood-bottomed ship in the first place however.....
And he is not amused.
If you get stuck between home and Syracuse, you are welcome at CasaTruthy in northern NJ.
A+++ and dittoes on hating the song.
Thanks Truthy! prob would need to shelter in place somewhere around Scranton or Wilkes_barre though. That ungodly stretch of 81 between Harrisburg and B’hamton is DEATH.
makes me want to open my veins.
did you see the alternate version I sent XS a few days ago?
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