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.

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