Sailor Speak of the Week – Wake

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on



  • The track of waves left behind by a moving vessel.


Probably earlier than the 17th century. From Old Saxon, wakon, and the Old Norse, waken, referring to the space made in the ice by a ship.


Another term in common usage. The appearance of a wake depends on a variety of factors, such as the shape of the vessel’s haul, method of propulsion, and the state of the sea.


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

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