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May 6, 2021

Word of the Day: Deep-six

2 CQ

Word of the Day : May 6, 2021

deep-six \DEEP-SIKS\ verb


1 : to get rid of : discard, eliminate

2 slang : to throw overboard

Did You Know?

Before the introduction of shipboard sonar, water depth was measured by hand with a sounding line. This was generally a rope weighted at one end, with bits of leather called marks tied on at intervals to measure the fathoms. Between the marks, fathoms were estimated by deeps. The leadsman (pronounced LEDZ-mun) lowered the line into the water and called out the depth as the rope passed through his hands: "By the mark twain!" at two fathoms; "By the deep six!" at six fathoms. Perhaps due to an association with "six feet under" (dead and buried), to give something the deep six (or to deep-six it) was to throw it overboard, or, by extension, to discard it. In the mid-20th century, deep-six made landfall; since then it has been used as much by landlubbers as by old salts.

Aired May 6, 2021

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