Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 17:38:22 -0500


Subject: Re: On the Level; On the Beam

On Wednesday, January 21, 1998 12:35 AM, Bapopik [SMTP:Bapopik[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM] wrote:

Perhaps "on the level" is related to "on the beam"--a seafaring term. If a

ship's not "on the level" it's a titanic disaster.

--Barry Popik (seriously rethinking his upcoming trip to Guatemala)

More properly, on the beam means directly to the right or left (port or

starboard) as opposed to off the bow or the stern. Few sailing ships, however,

were ever on the level. When under sail, the ship would heal over to the

leeward side, and might have one rail almost in the water, with the other in

the air.

Another nautical term that is familiar to many is being "pooped." The poop

deck of a ship was the raised portion in the rear. As a ship moves through the

water, there is a displacement wave that runs along the hull, and limits how

fast a ship can go. If the ship pushes too hard, the displacement wave is

actually break over the poop deck, bringing the ship to a halt (and nearly

washing away the man at the wheel). This was called getting pooped. So, if

you work really hard, and really fast, then crash to a stop, you are "pooped."

Denis Anson, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor

Occupational Therapy Department

College Misericordia

301 Lake Street

Dallas, PA 18636

phone: 717-674-6413

fax: 717-674-8902

Author of:

Alternative Computer Access: Making Appropriate Selections

from FA Davis