Sunday, August 9, 2009
Etymology of Landlubber
A landlubber is someone who is no good at sea. Thanks no doubt to some terrible aberration of their soul or other sad personal flaw, they are simply not worth much once cast onto the open water.
While many people think that the word landlubber is simply a mispronunciation of land-lover, they are Wrong, and you should tell them so. While these ungainly, clumsy souls are cartoonishly portrayed as literally kissing the ground once their ships return to port, the history of the word landlubber has nothing to do with such a mispronunciation, and landlubbers are not necessarily aroused by dirt.
Instead, landlubbers can be parsed as follows: land - lubber. Land is land. The word "lubber" simply refers to butterfingered, lumbering nincompoops. Landlubbers were usually rookie sailors who had yet to develop their sea legs. The old timers would rib them calling the new meat landlubber, implying that he'd probably be just as bumbling and generally useless on shore as elsewhere.