Sailor Speak of the Week – Eyes

Definition

Noun

  • The extreme forward end of a ship

Origin

16th Century. Unknown origin. Possibly refers to the eyes of dragonheads often found on the bows of Viking ships during the 10th-12th Centuries. Could also come from the eyes on later figureheads or from the phrase, “the eye of the wind.”

Comments

During foggy days, lookouts will often be posted on the eyes to warn of anything the vessel may be approaching. Ancient Greek vessels also sometimes had literal eyes painted on the sides of the bow.

References

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

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