Origins of Words and Phrases

I felt it was much too long since we’d revisited the glorious days of sail for a word origin…


The Glorious Days of Sail








A lee shore was always a danger to sailing ships – the closer you got to a lee shore the less room for manoeuvre you had, and the stronger the chances of being driven ashore. The order might be given to luff, i.e. steer the ship’s head away from land and as close into the wind as possible in order to avoid running aground.

This idea of standing away from shore came to be used in the sense of standing apart from something or someone, and to luff evolved into aloof.

The Dangers of Not Being Aloof

The Dangers of Not Being Aloof








(Incidentally, I think this cropped up in a previous post but the very idea of giving yourself as much room as possible when approaching a lee shore give rise to another well known phrase: leeway.)


About ramblesofawriter

Writer, thinker, tea drinker.
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2 Responses to Origins of Words and Phrases

  1. chloefb says:

    Awww, the first time I ever met my future-husband my overall impression of him was that he was aloof. Now I know where that sparkling start to our relationship has its origins!

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