Sailor Speak of the Week – Gangplank


An illustration of people disembarking via a gangplank.


  • A bridge-like structure that goes from a vessel to the shore and allows for access.


Probably earlier than the 17th century. From Anglo-Saxon, gang, meaning path or course. Plank comes from Middle English, planke, meaning board.


Also known as a gangway. The term is pretty self-explanatory since plank can simply refer to a flat board of wood. Some gangplanks are sturdier and better built than others, so watch your step.


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

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