Summer sailing idioms

30 de julio de 2018 at 11:20
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Plain sailing – Source © Wikimedia commons

It’s holiday time and now is the time to relax, kick back and enjoy some free time in the sun. Is your holiday planning so good that your holiday will be all plain sailing? Plain sailing is an idiom, which means something that is easy and pleasurable with no problems.  The UK has many words and phrases that originate from our naval past. Add to your vocabulary by finding out more in this week’s summer post…

In boating language port and starboard mean left and right and the stern and the bow are basically the back and the front of the boat.  You also have the deck, which is the upper level of the boat and the galley which is the kitchen. If  you fall out of a boat and into the sea, you go overboard. But there is another meaning to go overboard that you might hear in English.

Showing someone the ropes – Source © Wikimedia commons

You can go overboard if you are too enthusiastic and too excited. You make too much effort with something. You are just too much for other people to spend time with!

However, if you know the ropes you really know how to do something well and if you show someone the ropes you teach them what to do. Things are easy when you know how!

Organisations that run a tight ship have everything under control. People know the rules and obey them. This could be positive as being tightly controlled means the organization gets things done and is very efficient. On the other hand, it could be negative as in order to run a tight ship you might have to be very strict.

Source © Wikimedia commons

If you rock the boat you cause trouble in a situation, which is stable and happy for many people. If you don’t rock the boat you don’t say anything about a situation, as you want to keep the status quo.


All of these phrases are very common in English and also feature in films, books and songs.  Rock The Boat is a 1974 classic disco song, which was the first disco hit to be successful both in the USA and the UK. It’s a catchy song, just right for summer!

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