Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Random slang-o-rama term for the week: Live Lumber

Every Wednesday, I'll be posting some intriguing (well, to me!) slang term from the past in a "random slang-o-rama" entry.
Hey, we can all use a little lift mid-week, right? :-)

This is not to say that if I have something else to say I'll use Wednesday to say it. But most likely, it'll be some obscure bit that is just too interesting to let fade away entirely.

This week's term is:


 So, what does this mean?
I'll give you a moment to ponder...
Moment's over!
Here's the definition, courtesy of the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Vol. II:

Live lumber (nautical) - shipboard passengers.
From 1785's Vulgar Tongue: Live Lumber. A term used by sailors, to signify all landsmen on board their ships.
... and from 1841, this lovely passage from Man-of-War: We experienced uncommonly rough weather on passage round, and the captain of the barque found that his freight of live lumber was anything but di-agreeable [sic] when the wind began to freshen.

There you go! See if you can't incorporate "live lumber" into your conversation in the coming week. I'll be back next Wednesday with another random slang-o-rama entry...

"Don't let the live lumber fall overboard!" -- The painting showing the steam auxiliary 'Blackwall frigate' East Indiaman 'Vernon', 996 tons, broadside in the centre on her maiden voyage. She passing HM ships 'Edinburgh' and 'Blenheim' as they beat down Channel off Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on 21 September 1839.


Camille Minichino said...

How can we get rid of live lumber when we see it?

Ann Parker said...

Toss it overboard? ;-)