salty sailor talk

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
What is a salty sailor talk? What is a salty sailor? Salty sailors are those old time sailors who have been at sea for long so he is salty, and who are thought to be grouchy?

Mr. Lodge: Who did it?! [...]
Jug: Sorry, sir! He's never bitten anybody before!
Mr. Lodge: #&%&$%#
Jug: That's some salty sailor talk!
('Your Humble Serpent' in 'Jughead Double Digest' #182 published by Archie Comic Publications, Inc)
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    What is a salty sailor talk? What is a salty sailor? Salty sailors are those old time sailors who have been at sea for long so he is salty, and who are thought to be grouchy?
    I think you are right on the money. :)

    From the Unofficial Marine Corps dictionary:
    Salty
    Referring to someone or something with a lot of experience, particularly at sea. A salty Marine is one who has been around a while. A salty uniform is more faded and obviously used but still sharp. Salty language is language salted with profanities or obscenities.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I believe that "salty", in this instance, refers to the talk rather than the sailor.
    I agree. As it happens, the sense "piquant; racy" of "salty" long antedated its use in describing sailors. The Oxford English Dictionary shows an 1866 cite for the first, while the second has a first cite of 1920.

    I think I've found an even earlier cite for that second sense. From page 27 of the August 1919 edition of Popular Science, in an article on aviation:
    With the multiplication of parts and gear there has grown up a language of the air as unfamiliar as the salty talk of the deep-sea sailor. Yet "fuselage," "cabane," "joy-stick," "ailerons," and words of their brotherhood have taken out citizenship papers with the dictionary makers. Soon we'll all be saying them.
    It seems clear that it is not swearing that is referenced in that quote, but the technical vocabulary of seafaring.

    Addition: I submitted the information to the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It might be clearer if it were "That's some salty sailor-talk!" Note the hyphen.
     
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