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Why is a Ship Called She

Updated on March 19, 2015
Oasis of the Seas is a lady!
Oasis of the Seas is a lady!

Why is a Ship Called She?

Ah, sweet mystery of life! Why is a ship called she? That question is right up there with Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why have I chosen this subject? Why? Because my hubbuddy, psychicdog.net, asked me to provide the answer to why a ship is always of the feminine persuasion when I wrote a review about the world’s largest cruise ship – the Oasis of the Seas.

So, I am taking the time away from my pursuit of the other incredibly important philosophical conundrums on my plate such as if you drop a piece of buttered toast, why does it always land with the buttered-side on the floor? Or, why does that $5.00 discount coupon you and I have been searching for always turn up the day after its expiration date?

Back to – Why do we call a ship she? But first get ready for a musical digression. One of my first thoughts on the subject of giving female appellations to things ordinarily considered male took me back to the song by Johnny Cash, “A Boy Named Sue.” Do you remember it? If you never heard of either Johnny Cash or “Sue,” you are in for a treat. Watch this video of the original version of Cash’s song sung live at San Quentin Penitentiary in 1969. Because the lyrics are so memorable, I have reprinted them at the end for your pleasure.   

Johnny Cash singing "A Boy Named Sue"

USS Eagle - Coast Guard Training Ship
USS Eagle - Coast Guard Training Ship | Source

So I’m thinking that if a boy were named Sue then why is it so unusual for a ship to be a she. My voluminous research has turned up a number of intriguing answers to this question. Now you can select your favorite.

 Answer #1 – A ship is called "she" because . . .

There is always a great deal of bustle around her … There is usually a gang of men about … It takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking … She shows her topsides and hides her bottom … She can be all decked out … It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly … When coming into port, she always heads for the buoys … Without a man at the helm, she is absolutely un-controllable … And the main reason … it's not the initial expense that breaks you, it's the upkeep.

This explanation has been posted in the wardrooms of numerous U.S. ships.

Clipper ship
Clipper ship

Answer #2 – A ship is called "she" because . . .

A ship may represent a mother taking care of a human inside her womb. So when we board a ship or a vessel, we are all inside her and she takes care of her passengers until we are delivered safely to our destination.

The author of this answer may need therapy to deal with his psychological Oedipus complex - the unconscious antagonism of a son to his father, whom he sees as a rival for his mother's affection.

Answer #3 – A ship is called "she" because . . .

The exact reason why ships are called “she” in the English language is lost to history. While explanations abound, most appear to be of the folk variety, assumed or invented after the fact as a way to make sense of the phenomenon. Ships are an interesting example in English, as they are among the few inanimate objects that take a gendered pronoun, whereas most other objects are called “it.”

"History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools." – Ambrose Bierce

Countries are also called “she” as are automobiles, motorcycles and boats but the latter examples are probably an extension from ships.

“How do you like my new Exelero sports car; Isn’t she a beauty?”

Ancient Greek ship
Ancient Greek ship

Answer #4 – A ship is called "she" because . . .

Another plausible theory is that boats are called “she” because they are traditionally given female names, typically the name of an important woman in the life of the boat's owner, such as his mother or wife. It has also been surmised that all ships were once dedicated to goddesses, and later to important mortal women when belief in goddesses waned. Interestingly, although male captains and sailors historically attributed the spirit of a benevolent female figure to their ships, and often the prow sported the full figure of a topless female, actual women on board were considered very bad luck at sea.

Have you wondered about the definition of a ship, versus a boat? The captain of a cruise ship gave me this definition: “A ship is a vessel large enough to carry a boat. A boat is smaller and cannot carry a ship. However, if a ship is sinking, it looks for … a boat.”

Mayday" originates from the French "m'aidez" which means "help me".

Answer #5 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

There is evidence that English once had a more extensive system of grammatical gender, similar to that in languages such as German and French. In most Indo-European languages with grammatical gender, the word for ship is feminine. In Old English texts, there is more evidence of grammatical gender, such as a shield being called “she”.

You may be interested to know that a ship being called a “she” is very much a western Europe / U.S. custom. In Russia and much of Arabic Asia, a ship is called “he”.

Whether the fact that ships are called she is a throwback to an ancient system of grammatical gender that has disappeared from English in all but a few instances, or an analogy to the reverence that sailors have for the women in their lives, the phenomenon is one of the most interesting anomalies in Modern English. Recently, advocates of gender-neutral or non-sexist language have proposed that ships no longer be called she, but rather it, like any other inanimate object.

Time out for the very funny “crowded ship’s cabin” scene in the Groucho Marx film, “One Night at the Opera.” How many people did you count in the cabin?

Pirate ship
Pirate ship
Columbus' ship - Santa Maria
Columbus' ship - Santa Maria

Answer #6 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

It is possible that ships, boats, autos, etc., are known as "she" because everyone babies them so much, keeps them clean, neat and pretty, and maintains them in good shape. It may not be considered manly for a machine to be hand-wiped and waxed every week.

Unless, of course, you are the owner of a Corvette . . . or an Exelero!

Answer #7 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

Ships are referred to in the feminine because that's the gender for the word, "ship" or “navis” in Latin. So the pronoun is always "she".

Note: Although hurricanes (storms) still receive feminine names, every other storm is given a masculine name. Would you say they are now himacanes?

Answer #8 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz put it more succinctly in an address to the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy: "A ship is always referred to as 'she' because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder."

Answer #9 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

WikiAnswer: At the time of the ancient mariners even as far back as 500 BC, most were 'married to the sea' due to their love for the ocean. The ships were their livelihood, their home and their love. As a compliment to the women they loved, they named their sailing vessels after them, telling them that it would remind them of the ones they left behind for the months and sometimes years they would be gone. This caught on. The 'she' was also given for things of great beauty found in the sea, e.g., “There she blows!" depicting the massive water spout seen by ancient whaling ships which almost all had female names. Even when ships stopped being given feminine names they were still referred to as 'she', but basically this analogy was due to a captain's love for his ship. "She’s a fine ship, Captain."

Not all Captains are perfect ... watch the guy fall off the stern of the tug.

Answer #10 – A ship is called “she” because . . .

“Why We Call a Ship a She?” By Rear Admiral Francis D. Foley, U.S. Navy (Retired), Naval History, December 1998

“Ships are referred to as ‘she’ because men love them, but this encompasses far more than just that. Man-o'-war or merchantman, there can be a great deal of bustle about her as well as a gang of men on deck, particularly if she is slim-waisted, well-stacked, and has an inviting superstructure. It is not so much her initial cost as it is her upkeep that makes you wonder where you founder.

She is greatly admired when freshly painted and all decked out to emphasize her cardinal points. If an aircraft carrier, she will look in a mirror when about to be arrested, and will wave you off if she feels you are sinking too low or a little too high, day or night. She will not hangar around with duds, but will light you off and launch you into the wild blue yonder when you muster a full head of steam.

“Even a submarine reveals her topsides returning to port, heads straight for the buoys, knows her pier, and gets her breast-lines out promptly if she is single-screwed. On departure, no ship leaves port asleep, she always leaves a wake. She may not mind her helm or answer to the old man when the going gets rough, and can be expected to kick up her heels on a family squall.

“A ship costs a lot to dress, sometimes blows a bit of smoke, and requires periodic overhauls to extend her useful life. Some have a cute fantail, others are heavy in the stern, but all have double-bottoms which demand attention. When meeting head-on, sound a recognition signal; whistle. If she does not answer up, come about and start laying alongside, but watch to see if her ship is slowing . . . perhaps her slip is showing? Then proceed with caution until danger of collision is over and you can fathom how much latitude she will allow.

“If she does not remain on an even keel, let things ride, feel your way, and do not cross the line until you determine ‘weather’ the "do" point is right for a prolonged blast. Get the feel of the helm, stay on the right “tact”, keep her so, and she will pay off handsomely. If she is in the roaring forties, however, you may be in the dangerous semi-circle, so do not expect much "luff," especially under bare poles.

She may think you are not under command or control and shove off. If she edges aweigh, keep her steady as she goes, but do not sink into the doldrums. Just remember that ‘to furnish a ship requires much trouble, but to furnish a woman the cost is double!’

“To the women who now help us "man" our ships, my apologies for the foregoing. Only the opening phrase presents my true feelings. After all, a ship's bell(e) will always remain her most prized possession, and every good ship has a heart, just like yours. A trick at the wheel, like you, would have been welcome aboard when I was on "she" duty for 40 years. May God bless you all, sweetheart!”

Those are the ten answers I found to the question, “Why do we call a ship she?” Which answer do you like best?

My favorite ship quotes:

“We did not all come over on the same ship, but we are all in the same boat.” – Bernard Baruch

“When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy, the Captain goes down with the ship.” – Dick Gregory

“If you want your ship to come in, you must build a dock.”

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” – Jonathan Winters

“The man who has done nothing but wait for his ship to come in has already missed the boat.”


Copyright BJ Rakow 2010, 2012, 2015. All rights reserved.

Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

"A Boy Named Sue" lyrics

My daddy left home when I was three,

And he didn't leave much to ma and me.

Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.

Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid,

But the meanest thing that he ever did,

Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke, And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,

It seems I had to fight my whole life through.

Some gal would giggle and I'd get red,

And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,

I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,

My fist got hard and my wits got keen,

I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.

But I made a vow to the moon and stars,

That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars,

And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July,

And I just hit town and my throat was dry,

I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.

At an old saloon on a street of mud,

There at a table, dealing stud,

Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad, From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,

And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.

He was big and bent and gray and old,

And I looked at him and my blood ran cold.

And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!

Now you’re gonna die!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,

And he went down, but to my surprise,

He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.

But I busted a chair right across his teeth,

And we crashed through the wall and into the street,

Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men,

But I really can't remember when,

He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.

I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,

He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,

He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough, And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough,

And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.

So I give ya that name and I said goodbye.

I knew you'd have to get tough or die,

And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight,

And I know you hate me, and you got the right,

To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.

But ya ought to thank me, before I die,

For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye,

Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you ‘Sue.’”

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,

And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,

And I came away with a different point of view.

And I think about him, now and then,

Every time I try and every time I win,

And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him . . .

Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!

Comments for Why is a Ship Called She?

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    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Your answer makes sense, Taranwanderer. Thanks for the visit and your kind comments.

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      Maybe because a cruise ship is a vessel? Lol great and informative hub, nonetheless. I also wrote one on cabin cruise ships at - https://hubpages.com/travel/7-Amazing-Cruise-Ship-...

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      I knew you would, Chris. Groucho and that particular scene have long been among my favorites. Thanks for giving me an excuse to come back and view it again. :)

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      great post!! I especially liked that Marx Brothers cabin scene! :-)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      And 'toutes mes salutations les plus distinguées' to you, too, Jacko. Since you appear to be enamored of large cruise ships (at least in your dreams), you may want to read my hub, "World's Largest Cruise Ship Oasis of the Seas Review."

      The Oasis' twin sister ship, the Allure, is also sailing now. Have a Happy New Year.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Jacko, so nice to meet you. What a coincidence that you dreamed about a yacht and became inspired to learn why we call a ship a she. I had long pondered that question myself which is why I did the research and wrote this epic explanation.

      Thank you for your sublime comments and sublime they are, whether in English or French. I welcome them in any language. You do not have to apologize for coming late to the party. As long as you found it. So 'chapeau et merci' to you, my friend.

    • profile image

      Jacko 4 years ago

      Oh by the way, dreams can sometimes be precise - at least, mine are. So not just a boat but a yacht! Eerie, I know! :) And I also just noticed that I'm actually two years late to the party! Better late than never, they say. Whom? I don't know. Well, probably those who still want to have a good conscience even when they've screwed up! Anyway, toutes mes salutations les plus distinguées! Sorry for my French!

    • profile image

      Jacko 4 years ago

      I dreamed of a boat last night - a yacht to be precise. Nothing rated PG-S, I can assure you! I woke up and wondered, "why a boat is called a 'she'?" The Internet, the Saviour, is here of course to put my eerie and curious mind to rest! I browsed it and came across your fabulous answer. What an absorbing read! You took me on a great adventure at sea onboard a royal cruise ship - a trip full of knowledge peppered with bucketloads of giggles. The videos were a bonus. Back on land, I said to myself, "I shall never forget HER, that ship that 'vesseled' me on such a subjugating voyage. SHE was majestic. So is your writing. To gems like that, we say in French - as English is not my mother tongue - 'chapeau et merci'. So to the gem you've produced on this page, I say 'chapeau et merci' to you. I know I'm nearly a year late to the party but I genuinely enjoyed it! Au revoir and à bientôt maybe.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, humorsense. You are late to the party. Chinthaka - about 27 comments above - already beat you to the punch...line. Ahah.

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      humorsense 4 years ago

      why is a vessel called she ?

      my answer : the bottom always wet ! ahah

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to meet you, just a cadet. Yes, you have my permission to present this article to your class. Just be sure if you print it out that you include the copyright information at the bottom of the article. Would be delighted to know your class' reaction.

    • profile image

      just a cadet 5 years ago

      well sorry if i have read this a little late. i was looking for an article about "why is a vessel called she" and yours proved a real gem...ive used some reasons in our class subject Maritime English and the slight humor gave us a laugh....now would it be okay if i use your article and present it to our class? waiting for your permission.

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      kareem 5 years ago

      thanks sure i will

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      kareem - Are you using your email address where it says username? Try that to see if it will work.

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      kareem 5 years ago

      author i tried to follow and i did the steps but when i write my username it says try other one and i do but it keeps saying another one

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, kareem. I write several hubs or stories each month. If you want to get emails notifying you, click on 'Follow' on my profile page. Thanks for your interest.

    • profile image

      kareem 5 years ago

      did you write any storie

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for the info, kareem, I will check out the tecktonik video. My real name, since you asked, is bj - the dr is my title.

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      kareem 5 years ago

      sure there is on youtube write how to danse tecktonik

      ah and author i want to know ur reallname if u dont mind ur thing helped me alot

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Question for you, kareem, from all us cool guys. Not sure about 'tecktonick.' Is there a video available to teach that dance? Just askin'.

    • profile image

      kareem 5 years ago

      hey can any one here dance tecktonick

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      kareem 5 years ago

      you know i feel that all of u are cool

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for enjoying our very 'nice' conversation, kareem, join in any time. Gals are welcome, too.

    • profile image

      kareem 5 years ago

      its a very nice conversation Guys

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You are welcome, Nin. And give the French guy my regards.

    • profile image

      Nin 5 years ago

      There is also french guy who wants to know, thanks for aswaring my question

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, phil, for stopping by and liking the answers to the question I posed. Yes, a ship does need to be taken care of - just like a lady. You do sound like a gentleman, sir.

    • profile image

      phil.----jbb 5 years ago

      .. like the answers . i agree, a ship must be treated as a lady or called a she ..... needs to be taken care off.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Your idea was a stroke of genius, Rod, and another very good rationale for calling a ship a she - especially during the time when Britain ruled the waves and the monarch was of the feminine persuasion. Thanks for adding your inspiration.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to meet you, carcro. You are so right. Almost any of the scenarios I mentioned above could apply. Thank you for the up and awesome. Come back any old time.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Another idea has crossed my mind. During the two greatest periods of the British navy a woman happened to be on the thrown. I am thinking of Elizabeth the First and also Queen Victoria. I would say that a British ship, whether a warship or a ship for commerce, would represent the British people because of the expense in building her and also representing the ruler of Britain because she is symbolic of Britain. Hence the ship is a SHE. There have been a few ships named after female British monarchs.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 5 years ago from Winnipeg

      What an interesting hub, just about any of the reasons could be the real one, but in fact they all seem to apply. Great article! Voted Up and Awesome!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      I am delighted to call you a 'romantic,' Rod. There are way too few in our world today. Thanks for the return visit.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      I go along with Tom. I still think that lonely sailors missing female company has a lot to do with the ship being a she. Call it the romantic in me if you like.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Inventive reasoning, Chinthaka, but totally and entirely specious.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Interesting comment, Tom, but I have always believed that the behavior you describe is not confined to only one sex. Would you agree?

    • profile image

      Chinthaka 5 years ago

      Ship is called "She" because the bottom is always wet.

    • profile image

      Tom Morris 5 years ago

      She behaves like a woman: If you look after her, she will take care of you. If not, she will ditch you by www.customtermpaper.org.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Delighted to have enlightened you, jamie, thanks for stopping by. And graciously commenting.

    • jamiesweeney profile image

      jamiesweeney 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Interesting hub! Now, I know why ship called she.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, Rod, for the visit and the up vote. As you pointed out, there are myriad reasons why down through the ages most folks call a ship a she. So be it.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      I will vote up. It was always my understanding that the ship was a 'she' because of the loneliness of a long sea voyage. Back in the days of sail women were not allowed to become sailors and so, barring the possibility of female passengers, there were no females. Under such circumstances it is understandable that the ship should become a 'she'. As you have pointed out, the men look after her and treat her right and, in turn, she gets them to where they are going and then she takes them home. Of course if you don't treat her right there's all hell to pay and you are likely to meet a watery fate.

      Yes, I would also go along with the 'mother' image for a big cargo ship though a sloop might be considered a young and feisty female out for some fun.

      The French consider a ship a he? No wonder they couldn't beat the British in the days of sail. A strange lot the French or at least they were back then.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, upal. I like your description of a ship as 'she' which corresponds to #2 above. But you added an even more maternal description - she 'comes back to overseas dearest ones.' What a lovely way to describe her.

    • upal19 profile image

      Ashraf Mir 6 years ago from Dhaka

      Overwhelming descriptions of 'SHE.' I think She is she because she intakes and delivers after some time. She was the only carrier from the historic age for coming back to overseas dearest ones. So, grateful people started to call it she as a sign of love for it.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you so much, Leptirela (charming name) - how very nice to meet you, especially since you find this informative and useful (2 of my favorite descriptions).

      Delighted you enjoyed it and the pleasure is all mine.

    • Leptirela profile image

      Leptirela 6 years ago from I don't know half the time

      EXCELLENT HUB :: drbj::

      Informative and useful, It never even occurred in my mind to ask the question, this is great stuff and thanks for sharing.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, crystolite, for stopping by and the 'awesome' and 'interesting.' Oh, yes, and the 'brilliant' answer. You can visit and comment on my hubs any time!

      You don't have to thank me either because it was entirely my pleasure.

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      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Awesome and interesting hub.A good question with a brilliant answer.Nice article and thanks a million for sharing.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      What amazing perceptive qualities you have, tki, to recognize my 'amazing creation' and for appreciating my - love this line of yours - light hearted look and in depth answers. Delighted by your visit and that you enjoyed this hub and thanks for the up and the awesome. You are invited to wander around my hubs any time, any place.

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      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Loved the hub. I expected a couple of paragraphs, but you really covered every aspect. Thanks for the light hearted look and the in depth answers. Amazing creation!

      Rated up and awesome.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I beg your pardon, roobit, but the author is a literate boorophobe, to say nothing of a literate churlophobe.

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      roobit 6 years ago

      You may be interested to know that a ship being called a “she” is very much a western Europe / U.S. custom. In Russia and much of Arabic Asia, a ship is called “he”.

      You may be interested to know that the author of the post is an illiterate Russophobe. In fact in German a ship (das Schiff) is "it", in French a ship is "he" as it is "le bateau", in Spanish and Italian a ship is he bastimento, but surprise, surprise in Russian and Czech (or other Slavic language) a ship as small vessel is actually ... she (lo? in Czech, lo? or ladia in Russia) while a big - from Greek korobos, a karabl is "he". In any case most Indo-European terminology that pertains to river naviation is shared and a small boat would usually be (nav-, lod-) she seafaring terminology is not shared (and in West European languages the ship is always he or it). English has not preserved grammatical gender so ship as she is an oddity (perhaps because it begins with sh-) because ... Russophobe sh*thead, the word for ship in Old English is scip and it in English it was not feminine but neuter.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, David, for visiting. Delighted you learned some interesting information. Come back any time.

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      DavidLivingston 6 years ago

      A very interesting info I learned today.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, sidemirror, for the "nice" comment. It appears that you have found your niche - passenger-side mirrors. Is there no demand for driver's side as well? Just wonderin'.

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      sidemirror 6 years ago

      Hi i see your hub this is nice.If you want a best passenger side mirror please visit our site.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Oh, Ruby, thank you for visiting with these outrageous, original, observant one-liners. You are the greatest and I appreciate you.

      BTW - #8 - ain't that the truth? And #10 - You naughty girl, you. :)

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi drbj That's a class hub full of info and the humour is brilliantly constructed. I love that kind of stuff.

      Ships are shes' because, one, they are not Mastculin.

      Two, the officers are not petty-coated.

      Three shes' are not -ankers.

      Four, two many men to be 'all a broad'.

      Five, If the crew were half female there would be too much hanky planky.

      Six, if women go to sea their folks ul complain.

      Seven, you don't need female crew as there is already a purser.

      Eight, ships can't be hes' because they'd be changing channels too much.

      Nine if crews were half female there would be too many 'ocean blues'.

      Ten if the ship and the crew was all male, who would make the cockswain?

      Sorry about all those one liners. Cheers.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Aha, vox, you are a smart a**. My favorite kind of prospective student. Although you graduated a long time ago, it's never too late to begin your post-graduate career. We'll keep a light burning in the window - the only one that hasn't yet been broken, that is!

      Veni, vidi, graduum!

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 6 years ago

      ''Vox vocis'' is Latin and it means ''voice, word, power, right, authority''. Smart one, ha? Just checked out your ''Fokk Uni'' hub...I finished university a long time ago, but I wouldn't send my kid to Fokk :-) :-)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, vox vocis, what a classy name. Delighted you were amused, and yes, reason number seven does have merit. Since you appear to possess a logical mind, you would probably not be interested in a scholarship award to Fokk University (see my hub: "Fokk University.")

    • vox vocis profile image

      Jasmine 6 years ago

      I guess No. 7 would be a logical explanation, but other reasons are definitely amusing explanations! Ha, ha, again! Nice hub!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Welcome, Alan, absolutely delighted to see you here. So the Royal Navy was searching for the answer to this hub, too? I agree, that would have been a marvelous opportunity to underwhelm them all with all ten potential answers.

      I'm looking forward to reading your hubs and getting to know you and your perspective.

      Funny you should ask about your reaction to the response of "to tell the truth ..." Yes, I will write a hub about recognizing truth from fiction. It is something I've learned a lot about.

    • Bootneck profile image

      Bootneck 6 years ago from Cyprus and China

      I once spent four riotous years in the Royal Navy, and can remember during training being asked the question which gave birth to this hub. The answer was so boring that it is lost in the mists of time. Pity I didn't have somebody like you imparting the knowledge!!

      I like Nimitz's explanation the best, because it is dangerously near the truth.

      Okay, next project for you, why do the hairs on the back of my neck always stand up, when somebody looks me in the eye, and says "to tell the truth..."?

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, lex123. What a beautiful comment! Thank you for your visit and your gracious words and rating. Few things delight me more - except chocolate, of course - than knowing a reader has enjoyed what and how I write. You are obviously a person of distinction and perception. :)

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 6 years ago

      What a beautiful hub! I never knew there were so many reasons behind calling a ship as she. I enjoyed reading your style of writing too., and rated it up.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Paula Andrea MA, for your very gracious comments. Delighted you enjoyed this irreverent hub. On most days, I find "irreverent" is the way to go!

    • Paula Andrea, MA profile image

      Paula Andrea, MA 6 years ago from www.mode of cosmic therapy.com

      Entertaining and informative reading! Enjoyed the post so much.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, steph, and welcome to my sometimes slightly skewed world. Appreciate your very gracious comments. I laughed a lot to myself, out loud, while I was writing this hub. I think that's a sign of something but I'd rather not learn what!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      So much fun! You have a great way of entertaining, while educating your readers. Love all this wonderful trivia about ships! Laughed out loud at the idea of a "himicaine" :)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Wrath. Thanks for visiting and the "entertaining" comment - one of my favorite adjectives. The pleasure is mine.

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      Very entertaining! Thanks loads.

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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Aw shucks, vc, I would blush if I knew how to but it's one talent I've never had. What a marvelous compliment you pay me. Would you like to be my newest BFF?

      I'm gifted to have found you as a fan and will do my level best never to disappoint you. Thanks for the very gracious comments and up rating.

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      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I have just read one of the best hubs on hubpages! You are one gifted writer with just the right amount of humor. Saving this article and also sending it to my family, music students and friends. I cannot say enough about this hub and how gifted you are. I am a fan that will now read everything you have available. Thank you so much! Rated up and awesome (again). :-)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I knew we had a lot in common, Dolores. The Marx Brothers and Groucho, their leader, are among my favorite comedians. And the ship's cabin scene is a film classic. One of my favorite jokes from Groucho is: "Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too hard to read."

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I'll go for #5 which makes the most sense. I loved that Marx Brothers scene. It's one of my all time favorite movies scenes ever! In fact, we were just talking about it the other day and I was thrilled to set here and watch it. The Marx Brothers rule!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Funny is my middle name, ek. Thanks for the kind comments.

    • profile image

      ek 6 years ago

      Very funny. Your posts are great.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, PR. Isn't it strange how often we all accept things without asking why. Like calling ships and other stuff, "she."

      Thanks for your kind comments; "funny" and "informative" make my day. And "light tone" is my middle name. Most of the time. Love you, too.

    • PR_am profile image

      PR_am 6 years ago from Oregon

      Hmmm. How on earth have i been using the feminine gender to address ships, autos, countries... without asking why?

      This Hub is so funny and so informative. Thanks for sharing such important info with a light tone. I love it!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, blackmagyk, I'm a Cash fan, too. Delighted to have you visit and thank you for the "really awesome/funny hub." One of my favorite comments.

      Speaking of comments, take a look at my hub, "Comments and Traffic," and let me know what you think.

    • blackmagyk profile image

      blackmagyk 6 years ago

      really awesome/funny hub. i definetly liked the johnny cash song.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      I agree with you, Jane. Sailors have never regarded it lucky to have a woman aboard, yet it was long considered lucky to have a female figure on the prow, and the fact that they have always used a female appellation when speaking of a ship never seemed to bother them. So you might be on the mark with #2 - they're with their "mommies."

      Johnny is one of my favorites, too. Cash and Carson!

    • Jane Bovary profile image

      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      What a great hub drjb,...and very well researched. It's an important question! I always did think it might have something to do with the mother/protector thing, as in 'mother nature'...so I guess I'd have to go with no. 2 as well. It's ironic when you consider that women on ships were thought to be bad luck at one stage. I mean if a ship is a woman...how can that be the case?

      Love Johnny Cash!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for your most gracious comments and your visits to my hubs, Maita. You know how much I appreciate your visits and your insightful comments.

      Reason number two seems to resonate with many folks who read this hub.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

      Well, this is wonderful and nice hub, your hubs make me really think and I always learn a lot,

      Hmm, been thinking about this long and hard, you have all the selections why a ship is a she. I am leaning towards number two -- it is like a womb also carrying lots of important things and people, caring for them until they dock, Maita

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, soumyasrajan, how nice to meet you, especially since you made such gracious comments. Delighted you enjoyed reading the many answers to the questions.

      I like your reasoning for the masculine ship and the feminine boat - makes sense to me.

      Thanks for the visit; come back any time.

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      I enjoyed all of your questions very much drbj!

      answer for the ship are great. amazing collection of info. admirable work.

      You know funny thing -- in my mother tongue Hindi (which is also Indo-Euroean)

      word for ship is "Jahaj" Which is he, while for boat is "Nav" which is feminine.

      I thought that was because ship was big and boat was small and sweet.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, James. I've been missing your erudite and enlightening hubs. Hope all is going well with your writing and other endeavors.

      The pleasure is all mine. And knowing your somewhat classical bent, not at all surprised that you chose #7. Cheers and good luck.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      You surely covered all the bases. I enjoyed this Hub. It is funny and enlightening. Thank you for this pleasure. I'll go with # 7. :-)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Awwwwww, epi, You're too kind. But I LOVE it!

      Consider this a personal invitation to visit my hubs any and every time especially when you comment in such brilliant and insightful terms.

      "World class"? "panache"? Can you tell I am blushing?

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ..well well well ... it took me so long to scroll down to the bottom of this screen that I forgot the rhyme I was planning to present to you ..... lol lol

      but I must say this - what a fabulous subject you have come up with - and the presentation and research makes this a world class piece of journalism!

      Definitely you add class and panache to the hub world and we are extremely lucky as readers (and fans) because of it!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I guess it's true. Once a sailor always a sailor—and YES we DO have more fun. :)

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, suny - of course I didn't mind. "Fun" is my middle name. How did your daughter get that pet name - it's unusual but very nice. Tell her this article is therefore dedicated to her!

    • profile image

      suny 7 years ago

      hi Drbj-stopped to tell you that my daughter's pet name is SHIP and she is really beautiful,sorry for the little bit of fun,hope you didn't mind that all that much.See you.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, habee. "Southern Cross" is a neat name. Is there a hidden meaning I should know?

      When my husband and I owned a boat when the kids were small, I wanted to name it "Hole Down Which We Throw Money," but he talked me out of it.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Neat hub! I've wondered about this before. We gave our boat a gender-neutral name - Southern Cross.

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Jim. Thanks for stopping by.

      Is there such a thing as an ex-Navy man? I dunno. All the lovely chaps I've met who served in the navy are still, as far as I can tell, gung-ho navy guys. Which is great by me.

      Delighted that you with your navy background enjoyed my hub. Thank you for the gracious comments and the bravo zulu. :)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Being an ex-navy man myself, having served on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), and being the son of a 23-year retired navy chief, this hub was entirely fascinating to me. Very well researched and very well put together and an absolute pleasure to read. Bravo zulu, my friend!

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, jk, for your visit and your nice comments. You are right. I find when I get started on a topic, I try to explore every facet - maybe sometimes too many - of the subject. But I appreciate you for noticing my efforts.