Slang From The Sea
Cobblestone American History Magazine for Kids|September 2017

Have you ever felt startled or “taken aback” about the turn of certain events? Or have you ever gone from feeling great to feeling disappointment when someone or something “took the wind out of your sails”? Those phrases are examples of sailing-related sayings.

Nick D'Alto

On a sailing vessel, a ship was “taken aback” when a sudden shift in the wind came from the front instead of blowing from behind it, forcing it backward. And a ship that sailed up behind another ship and intercepted its wind prevented the ship’s forward progress by “taking the wind out of its sails.” Over time, people began to incorporate sailing terms like these into everyday use.

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