Sailor Speak of the Week – Derelict



  • An abandoned floating vessel.
  • (slang) a sailor who doesn’t make any contribution to the crew, perform any real work, and generally isn’t worth their salt. (AKA no load)


Perhaps the 17th century. From Latin, derelictus, meaning forsaken.


A fairly common word in the English language and one that can be applied just about anything that’s been abandoned. Woe to the sailor who behaves like a derelict and ambles about with no sense of direction, urgency, or purpose.


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

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