Sailor Speak of the Week – Earing

An illustration of an earing (Kemp, 1994, p. 279.)

Definition

Noun

  • Any small line that is used to fasten the upper corner of a sail to the yard.
  • The line passed through the cringles when reefing a square sail.

Origin

Probably earlier than the early 17th century. An earlier spelling was ear-ring. Of obscure origin, but possibly a nickname.

Comments

Has nothing to do with the jewelry on your ears. The outer turns of the earing are passed through the cringles and then beyond the lifts and rigging of the yardarm to stretch the head of sail tight along the yard. The inner turns are passed within the lifts and are meant to draw the sail up close to the yard.

References

Kemp, P. (1994). The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Oxford University Press.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s