Full Glossary for Mutiny on the Bounty
the Admiralty the Department of the Navy.
adze a heavy, curved tool for dressing timbers.
aft toward the stern, or tail, of the boat.
the antipodean on the opposite side of the world.
the armourer one who repairs firearms.
the arms chest the chest where the firearms are kept.
the barrier reef a reef of coral running parallel to the shore and separated from it by deep water.
baseness cowardice; having despicable qualities.
bilge water water that seeps into a boat and sours. of gentle birth well-born; born to honorable, upper-class parents.
binnacle the stand that houses a ship's compass.
blotted log a water-spotted ship's journal.
the blue yawl a small, two-masted boat, usually manned by four oarsmen.
the boatswain the ship's officer in charge of sails and rigging and summoning men to duty.
bole the stem or trunk of a tree.
booby a tropic seabird; two of the most common boobies are the red-footed booby and the blue-footed booby.
the bos'n's whistle the boatswain's whistle.
a brace of a pair of, a couple.
breadfruit melon-shaped fruit on medium-sized trees native to the tropics; the pulp resembles fresh bread.
bumboat men men who provide a ship with fresh provisions.
calabashes of water hollowed-out gourds filled with water.
Captain Cook an English navigator and explorer (1728-79). Rediscovered the Hawaiian Islands (Sandwich Islands). Killed by Hawaiian natives.
carriage and pair a carriage and a pair of horses.
chirrup to make a series of chirps or trilling sounds.
cockades rosettes or knots of ribbon, usually worn on a hat, indicating rank.
the cooper the person who repairs casks and barrels.
cumber my narrative burden a story with unnecessary details.
the cut of his jib his personal appearance.
the cutter a small, single-masted boat.
duff a stiff, spicy pudding.
an English frigate a small, fast naval ship, heavily armed.
epaulettes ornamental shoulder pieces worn on uniforms.
extenuating circumstances circumstances which make a fault seem less serious.
a fashionable watering place a gathering place where drinking water is obtained; a spring.
a fathom deep a unit of measurement equal to six feet.
firked whacked, or smacked.
forced to mess with forced to eat with.
a fortnight a period of two weeks.
four cutlasses four short, heavy, slightly curved swords.
a fowling piece a light gun used for shooting birds.
galled chaffed, raw.
a gill of wine one-fourth pint.
grog watered-down rum.
H.M.S. Gorgon His Majesty's Ship Gorgon.
halliards halyards; ropes or tackle for raising or lowering a sail.
his powdered queue a powdered pigtail.
hove-to to bring a ship to a standstill without anchoring.
hundredweight a weight equivalent to 100 pounds in the U.S., 112 pounds in England.
Huzza for Tahiti! Hurrah! Let's head for Tahiti!
in irons having wide, iron cuffs around the wrists and ankles.
an isthmus a narrow strip of land, bordered on both sides by water, connecting two large areas of land.
keel-hauling hauling a person under the keel (the lowest part of a ship) for punishment.
kicked from larboard to starboard kicked from one side of the ship (the port, left-hand side) to the other (the right-hand side).
King George King George III of England; ruled for 60 years (1760-1820); his policies led to the American Revolution.
the larboard side starboard side; the right-hand side of a ship when looking forward.
latitude the angular distance north or south from the equator on the earth's surface.
the launch a heavy, open-deck rowboat.
lay-to to check the motion of a ship.
a light chaise an open carriage, usually with a hood, drawn by a horse.
like the thrust of a rapier like the thrust of a small sword having a narrow blade, used for thrusting and slashing.
longitude the angular distance east or west on the earth's surface.
manacles handcuffs, or irons.
a man-of-war an armed naval ship.
the master's mate an officer who is subordinate to the master.
men at the sweeps men at the large oars.
midshipman a sub-lieutenant, a young cadet.
a midshipman's dirk his dagger.
the new reefers slang for new midshipmen. our sawbones our surgeon, or doctor.
nothing loath not reluctantly.
the old tars old sailors. our solicitor our lawyer.
old-style Navy salt an experienced sailor.
orlop deck the lowermost deck at the bottom of the ship.
outrigger a small South Pacific sailboat with a wooden float extending outboard from the side of the boat for added stability.
palliating circumstances attempts to conceal the gravity of a situation.
petitioned the Crown petitioned the king and/or Parliament.
pinnace a light sailing vessel, especially one used in attendance on a larger vessel.
placed in stocks placed in a wooden framework with holes for securing the wrists and ankles in order to expose a person to public ridicule.
plantains tropical fruit resembling bananas.
the portico a columned porch.
postscript a "P.S." at the bottom of a letter.
purser the officer aboard ship in charge of money.
a quadrant a navagational instrument used for measuring altitudes.
a quizzing glass a monocle, or single eyeglass.
retainers old, loyal servants or employees.
the Royal Society an organization founded in 1662 to advance scientific knowledge, particularly the physical sciences, and further research.
saving yourself besides yourself.
scurvy a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C, characterized by swollen, bleeding gums, livid spots, and prostration.
scuttles small hatches or openings in the deck.
sentinels watchmen, or guards.
a sextant an instrument used for measuring latitudes and longitudes.
shanks' mare to walk somewhere, rather than ride.
siesta a mid-day nap.
the sinnet a braided cordage made in a flat or round or square form from 3 to 9 cords.
Slit the dog's gullet! Slit the guy's throat!
a small sandy key a reef, or low island; also spelled cay.
snuggery a snug, cozy, private room.
squalls sudden, violent gusts of rain and strong wind.
steward the man in charge of domestic affairs aboard ship.
the sun had passed the meridian It had passed the noonday position.
sup eat with.
tacked to change the course of a sailing ship, or boat.
the taffrail the rail around the stern (the front) of a ship.
take a caulk go close your eyes and rest.
ten leagues distant A league is roughly three miles.
three feet [of water] in the hold three feet of water in the cargo space between the lowermost deck and the bottom of the ship.
throwing off his mantle throwing off his cloak.
to come to naught to fail.
two old duennas two old chaperones.
wherries light, shallow rowboats.
a whiff of grape smoke that follows a cannon blast of small, cast-iron balls, clustered together like grapes.
wild glen a small, overgrown, secluded valley.
woolgathering dreamy, inattentive.
you stand acquitted you are found innocent of all charges.
your berth your bed, or sleeping place.