Sailor Speak of the Week – Verdigris



  • The green patina on copper, brass, or bronze when exposed to air and saltwater.


Earlier than the 14th century. From the Old French, vert de Grece, meaning the green of Greece.


This is why the Statue of Liberty is green (spoilers: it wasn’t always that color). At home, you may notice that copper, brass, or bronze fixtures turn green over a long period of time. Now you know why Petty Officer John Smith was always telling you to polish the bright work.


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

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