Sailor Speak of the Week – U-Boat

Definition

Noun

  • A submarine (most often a German submarine during WWII).

Origin

20th century. From the German word, Unterseeboot, meaning undersea boat.

Comments

Anyone who’s ever seen the film Das Boot knows what this is.

In case you’re wondering if there’s a difference between a submarine and a U-boat. Well, a certain famous British Prime Minister had this to say about the distinction:

Enemy submarines are to be called U-Boats. The term submarine is to be reserved for Allied under water vessels. U-Boats are those dastardly villains who sink our ships, while submarines are those gallant and noble craft which sink theirs.

Winston Churchill

However, even before Churchill made things clearer, submarines themselves were widely condemned. In fact, Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson once said that submarines are, ” underhand, underwater and damned un-English” (Davis, 2001).

References

Davis, M. (2001, Nov. 2). Underwater and ‘damned un-English’. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1632450.stm.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s