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three sheets to the wind

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three sheets to the wind - 12/14/2005 6:44:04 AM   

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From: alabama
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what's the origin of this expression?


"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff,"
--Mariah Carey
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RE: three sheets to the wind - 12/14/2005 6:50:45 AM   


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Joined: 11/1/2003
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Ask the mighty Google and the answer appears......

Three Sheets to the Wind
The phrase dates to 1821. The sheet is a reference to a rope on a sailboat. To have a sheet loose in the wind is bad seamanship, to have three loose means you are not capable of controlling the boat. Occasionally you will see one sheet to the wind meaning half-drunk.

Here's another variation:




Three sheets to (or in) the wind is a nautical expression. If three sheets - which are the ropes holding the sails rather than the sails themselves - are loose and blowing about then the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor. Dickens uses it in Dombey and Son.

< Message edited by J P Falcon -- 12/14/2005 6:52:19 AM >

(in reply to warhead2)
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RE: three sheets to the wind - 12/14/2005 5:46:02 PM   

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From: Kentucky
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Very interesting; never really thought about it. Someone should write a book; somebody probably has; about all of the colorful phrases that have come into common useage in the English language. It seems that there are many nautical terms used.

< Message edited by Arinvald -- 12/15/2005 3:41:00 AM >

(in reply to Hanal)
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RE: three sheets to the wind - 12/14/2005 7:56:02 PM   

Posts: 2561
Joined: 9/16/2000
From: Dontblinkyoullmissit, GA
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There are a number of them.

Son of a Gun
Letting the cat out of the bag.
even the word 'aloof" has a nautical origin.

I did a whole paper on this subject for my Master's work in English, before seminary. It's on an old floppy which I cannot find now.


"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(in reply to sol_invictus)
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