Sailor Speak of the Week – Quarters



  • A general term for accommodations aboard a vessel.


16th century. Unknown origin, but possibly referencing a section of a community.


The term can also refer to battlestations, as in “general quarters.” In the Royal Navy, “to beat to quarters” would summon the men to their action stations by the beat of a drum (often “Heart of Oak”, the march of the Royal Navy).


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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