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Cat have your tongue?

June 7, 2017

So, what was it about the navy and merchant marines that pushed so many sailors towards the life of piracy?

 

The cat o’ nine tails was one solid reason to go… It is a sort of leather whip that was often constructed by the individual sentenced to meet its wrath.

 

A few common expressions today can be traced back to “The cat.” It was often hung in a bag in a public space so the crew would keep it in mind, hence the saying "Let the cat out of the bag." "I will scratch your back if you scratch mine" can also find its roots here. Crew members were often forced to whip their mates on behalf of the captain and they often pre-arranged to hit each other lightly.

 

And finally, when people find they are short of words… "Does the cat have your tongue" is something that the captain may have said when a boisterous crew became silent!

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