off-island name

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chopin7

Senior Member
Albanian
Hello

It's the movie "In the heart of the sea".
Captain and the first mate meet on the board of the ship.
There's this exchange,
"George Pollard.
Owen Chase.
"Chase." That's an off-island name, isn't it?
Yes, and very shortly, we will be
off-island for some time, and I'll be very much at home."

I don't get "an off-island name" here.
What does it mean?
A name used off island? A sailor name?
I didn't get anything online.

Thank you
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The island, specifically, is Nantucket Island off the south coast of Massachusetts, and the center of the U.S whaling industry until whaling ships grew too large for its harbor and the industry moved to New Bedford (a few decades after the events of this book take place). They commonly refer to people who are not from Nantucket* as "off-islanders," even today.

    _________________________
    *Or who were not born on Nantucket, to some old-time residents, no matter how long they have lived there.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The island, specifically, is Nantucket Island off the south coast of Massachusetts, and the center of the U.S whaling industry until whaling ships grew too large for its harbor and the industry moved to New Bedford (a few decades after the events of this book take place). They commonly refer to people who are not from Nantucket* as "off-islanders," even today.

    [...]
    Agreed. Which is why the novel on which the movie The Russians Are Coming was based was entitled The Off-Islanders, the joke being that the Russians were really not from the island.
     

    Cynthia M.

    Senior Member
    English- United States
    As in many other isolated places (for example), the same surnames recur over and over again. Among recognizable Nantucket names are Coffin, Starbuck, Folger, Gardner, and Macy.
     
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