Sailor Speak of the Week – Block


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  • A pulley.


15th century. From Old French, bloc, of the same meaning.


What landlubbers refer to as a pulley. i.e. A mechanical device used to aid in lifting heavy objects. Similar terms are also found in Early Dutch and German.


King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

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

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