Sailor Speak of the Week – Nun Buoy



  • A type of conically-shaped buoy.


Probably earlier than the early 16th century. Possibly from the early English word, nun, for a child’s top that tapered at the end. Previously from Old English, nunna.


While Rogers writes that it came from the word for a toy top, I was always under the impression that it also referred to the shape of a nun’s habit.


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

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

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