Sailor Speak of the Week – In (vs. On) a ship



  • “In” refers to being a member of a ship’s crew.


19th century.


The distinction being that “in a ship” refers to a person who is a member of the crew, versus “on a ship” which is being a passenger (non-crew member). Apparently, the semantic difference is mostly for purists (or the British).


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

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