Saturday, December 29, 2007


Swinging the Lead

& Spiking His Guns. This is a compendium of terms and expressions that derive from military usage. Swinging the lead refers to a way of goofing off in the days of sail, and spiking guns refers to putting a spike into the touchhole of a cannon. This served to render the cannon inoperable. A Canadian article says that the spike could be removed by drilling out the hole again. Tedious duty in the days before electric drills.

There is a British orientation to the book, but overall it’s an interesting explanation of many terms and expressions that you might come across.

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