Saturday, May 9, 2020

Nautical Lexicon – “Spinning a Yarn”

Nautical Lexicon
A “Yarn” by Navy Veteran Vikram Karve

The term “Spinning a Yarn” means telling a long far-fetched story – a “tall story”.

If someone “spins a yarn” – it means that he is telling a story – interesting and imaginative – but which may be apocryphal – or a true story with lots of “spice” added.

Dear Reader – did you know that the term “spinning a yarn” originated in the Navy – and was originally a nautical idiom…?

Let me tell you about it.

When the earliest ships took to sea with sails – sailors (seamen) on these sailing ships had to spend a large amount of their time “spinning yarns”.

(Spinning Yarn is a twisting technique where fiber is drawn out and twisted)

In the days of Sailing Ships – sailors had to spin yarn, strand by strand, rigging ropes for deck-work and for operating the sails.

Spinning Yarn was a very arduous, monotonous and time-consuming task – and this tedious and laborious work was made bearable due to the sailors’ ability to exchange jokes and “tall stories”.

These stories – told while spinning yarn – were generally accepted – or taken with a pinch of salt – because – at sea – there was no way to check the veracity of these stories – nor was it considered desirable or worth the effort.

A good “yarn” was a good yarn – however implausible the story was – as long as it was “spun” well – which made it enjoyable, interesting and entertaining.

This is the genesis of the expression “spinning a yarn” – which has now become popular in the English Language – like so many other terms which have a nautical origin.

Dear Reader – being a Navy Veteran – I “spin” many yarns too – and post them on my blogs for you to read and enjoy.


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1. This blog post is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. This article is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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