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Glossario Nautico Inglese/Italiano

La marineria usa un vocabolario oscuro ai non addetti ai lavori. In particolare, la terminologia della Royal Navy britannica ai tempi delle guerre con la Francia di fine Settecento-inizio Ottocento e dei velieri é riportata in un'altra pagina della sezione inglese del sito, in totale 661 voci.

Qui di seguito vengono offerti gli equivalenti italiani (colonna di destra). La maggior parte dei termini in blu, sia inglesi (600) che italiani (28), sono corredati da immagini da Internet visualizzabili con un clic.

Molti dei termini italiani e le relative illustrazioni sono ricavati dai seguenti forum di modellismo navale:

Altri dizionari consultati sono elencati a pié di pagina.

AbackTo turn foresails against the wind to help the vessel turn when tacking.Mettere a collo le vele di trinchetto
AbaftTo the back of, in or behind the stern of a vessel. Also astern.A poppavia
Abandon ship!Order given by a commanding officer to leave the vessel in a situation beyond control.Abbandonare la nave!
AbeamAt right angles to the vessel's keel.Al traverso
Aboard, onboard, on boardOn the vessel.A bordo
AdmiralThe highest rank obtainable by a Commissioned Officer. See Naval Ranks on another page.Ammiraglio
AdriftA vessel afloat but out of control.Alla deriva
AforeIn, on, or toward the front of a vessel. Also "ahead".Avanti
AftThe rear part of a vessel.A poppa, poppiero
AfloatA vessel floating freely, not aground or sunk.A galla
AfterdeckOpen deck behind a vessel's bridge, or the its continuation aft.Ponte di poppa
AfterguardSeamen who work the aft sails on the quarterdeck and poop deck to attend to the aft sails.Guardia di poppa
AgroundResting on or touching the sea bottom, a submerged reef or a sandbar (shoal).Arenato/a, incagliato/a
Ahoy, boat ahoy, ship ahoy!Cry to hail an approaching boat or vessel.Ehilà
Ahull (lying)Weathering a storm with sails furled or removed, and letting the vessel drift.A secco di vele
AleeTo leeward. Also "downwind".Sottovento
AloftOver the upper deck, on the rigging.A riva
AmidshipsIn the middle of a vessel.A mezza nave
AnchorA metal object to grip the bottom and prevent the drift of a vessel, attached by a line or chain.Ancora
Anchor's aweighAnchor (2) just clear of the bottom.Ancora levata, spedata
Anchor cattedAnchor secured to the catheads.Ancora al ceppo
Anchor draggingAnchor not holding to the bottom, allowing its vessel to drift.Ancora che ara
ArmourerPetty Officer responsible for maintaining and repairing a vessel's small arms.Armiere
ArmouryA small, copper-plated area close to the magazine where powder charges are prepared by the Gunner wearing felt slippers and passed through felt curtains to prevent their accidental ignition. Also powder room.Polveriera
AsternBehind or to the rear of a vessel.A poppavia
Athwart, athwartshipsAt right angles to the fore and aft or centreline of a vessel. Also amidships.Da banda a banda, traverso
Avast!Order to stop whatever is being done.Ferma!
AwashFlooded by waves or tide.Inondato/a
Aye, aye
Yes reply to an order or command to indicate that it has been heard and understood.
The proper reply from a hailed boat to indicate that an Officer is being rowed onboard.

Backing (sails) Slowing/halting a vessel's forward progress by setting her sails against the wind.Controvelare
Backstays Lines or cables (red) to support the masts from their rear.Paterazzi
BallastHeavy material in the vessel's hold to provide stability. "In ballast": having only ballast, no cargo.Zavorra
Banyan daysMondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when no meat is served to the crew. See Daily Life On Board.Giorni senza carne a mensa
Barge Large boat (right) for transportation between a vessel and the shore or within a harbor.Lancia
BarometerInstrument to measure atmospheric pressure and forecast short-term weather changes.Barometro
Barque, Barc, BarkVessel with 3 or more masts, a square-rigged foremast and mainmast , the mizzen rigged fore-and-aft.Brigantino a palo
Barquentine, Barkenteen,
Vessel with 3 or more masts: a square rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged main, mizzen
and any other masts.
Nave goletta, barcobestia, gabbiola
Battening down (hatches)Securing closed hatch covers with battens or gratings to prevent water entry belowdecks.Sigillare i boccaporti
BattensWooden steps on vessels' sides to facilitate ascent to its entry port(s}.Stecche, tarozzi
Battle damageDamage sustained by a vessel during a sea action, including fallen masts and rigging.Danni di combattimento
BeakheadSmall deck in front of the forecastle, where the heads are located (centre right).Rostro, sperone
BearingAngle of an object expressed in points relative to the bow, midships or stern of a vessel.Rilevamento, direzione
Bear up, down/awayTurn into/away from the wind.Orzare, poggiare/puggiare
Bears, bibles, prayer booksSquared-off pieces of soft sandstone (holystone) used with sand for holystoning the deck.Mattoni di arenaria
Beating to quartersSummoning a vessel's complement to battle stations by a continuous roll played by a Royal Marine drummer boy.Chiamata ai posti di combattimento
Beating to windwardSailing as close to the wind as possible. Also "close hauled", see Points of sail.Bordeggiare controvento, di bolina
BecalmedA vessel unable to move through lack of wind.In bonaccia, accalmia
BeesElm planks (low right) bolted to the outer ends of the bowsprit through which forestays are reeved.Passadraglie
Belay!Order to halt a current activity or to countermand a previous order before its execution.Ferma!
BelayingMaking a line fast around a cleat or belaying pin.Assicurare
Belaying pinWooden tool with a round handle and cylindrical shaft, inserted into a hole in various strategically placed wooden fife rails on bulwarks and elsewhere. Also a handy seaman's weapon at boardings.Caviglia, pazienza
Below decks, belowdecksAny of the spaces below the main deck of a vessel.Sottocoperta
Bend on (sails)To attach sails to the yards before hoisting them up.Inferire la velatura
Berths (accommodation)Sleeping quarters on board vessels.Cuccette
Berths (harbour)Docking places assigned to vessels in ports. Also "slips".Ormeggi, attracchi
BightLoop in rope or line.Ansa
BilboesIron bars with sliding shackles for confining prisoners' ankles.Ceppi
BilgeLowest compartment at the bottom (right) of the hull where water collects and is pumped out.Sentina
Bilge pumpsHand-operated pumps of various types to empty/lower the water level in the bilge periodically.Pompe di sentina, di esaurimento
BillsLists of the members of a vessel's entire company, specifying:
- Watch Bill: larboard and starboard watch personnel
- Quarter Bill: divisional stations to be taken in time of action or for given evolutions
- Station Bill: divisional stations to be manned for various situations. Also called "Muster List".
Elenchi delle guardie di bordo
BinnacleStand (left) before the helm where the vessel's compass is housed.Chiesuola
BittsPosts (mid left) for fastening ropes or cables.Bitte
BlackstrapCheap red Spanish wine distributed to the crew in lieu of unavailable grog.Vinaccio rosso spagnolo
BlockshipVessel deliberately sunk in a waterway to obstruct it and make it unnavigable.Vascello affondato per sbarramento
BlocksPulleys with single or multiple grooved wheels. Also sheaves:Bozzelli, bigotte
Blue PeterSignal flag (P) meaning that the vessel hoisting it is about to proceed to sea.Segnale di pronti a salpare
BlunderbussA muzzle-loading firearm with a short, large-calibre barrel flared at the muzzle.Trombone
BoardingAssaulting an enemy vessel lashed alongside by grapnels, or from boats.Arrembaggio, abbordaggio
Boarding partyGroup of Officers, Seamen and Royal Marines assembled to assault an enemy vessel by boat.Squadra d'abbordaggio
Boarding pike8'-long pike for boarding and to repel boarders.Picca d'arrembaggio
Boatswain, Bo'sunA Warrant Officer in charge of deck and rigging activities.Nostromo
Boatswain's chairWooden platform to suspend a Seaman from a rope to perform work aloft.Balzo, bansigo
Boatswain's pipeWhistle to issue commands to the crew.Fischio, fischietto del Nostromo
BobstayStay (C) holding the bowsprit downwards.Briglia del bompresso
BollardPost on a wharf to which mooring ropes are tied.Bitta d'ormeggio
BoltropeStrong rope stitched to edges of a sail.Gratile, ralinga
Bomb ketch, bombVessel with 1-2 large-calibre mortars on a revolving platform, firing explosive or incendiary shells.Bombarda
Bombay MarineA navy established in 1612 to protect the the East India Company's land territories and merchantmen.Marina della East India Company
Boom (obstacle)Chained logs or similar material strung across a stretch of water to control or block its navigation.Tronchi galleggianti di sbarramento
Boomkin, bumpkinShort spar (centre) projecting either fore or aft on a sailing vessel.Minotto, capone
Boom vangLine (67, lower left) used to downhaul the mizzen boom and control the shape of the gaff sail. Also kicking strap.Caricabasso, alabasso
BoomsSpars (right) attached to yards that can be extended outwards to hoist stunning sails.Bracci
Bow, bowsThe front part of a vessel.Prua, prora
Bower, best bowerA vessel's main anchor(s), normally carried in the catheads at the bow, best bower the larger.Ancora di posta
BowspritLong spar extending forward from the vessel's prow.Bompresso
BoxhaulingTacking a vessel by backing the sails and going astern until the wind is on the other side.Far la tombola, virare in poppa
Boxing the compass (wind)Wind that is constantly shifting its direction.Vento variabile, salto di vento
Boy, cabin boyServant, attendant. Usually a very young man. See Naval Ranks on another page.Mozzo
BracesRunning rigging (left) used to control the yards.Bracci
Brail up (sails)To haul up the foot of a sail to make it spill the wind and stop drawing.Imbrogliare, serrare le vele
Breeches buoyRescue device to extract people from wrecked vessels, or to transfer people in danger.Teleferica a braca
BridgeRaised deck (centre) behind the mizzenmast, its windward side reserved to the Officer on duty.
Also quarterdeck.
BrigVessel with 2 square-rigged masts.Brigantino
Brig of warUnrated flush-decked, 2-masted fighting vessel. See Ships' Rates on another page.Brigantino militare
Brigantine2-masted vessel with a square-rigged foremast and gaff-rigged mainsail with upper square rig on the aft mainmast.Brigantino
Brig-Schooner, Schooner-Brig, Hermaphrodite Brig2-masted sailing vessel with square sails on the foremast and a schooner rig on the mainmast
(triangular topsail over a gaff mainsail).
Brigantino-goletta, brigoletta
BroachA vessel turning sideways to high waves, thus liable to being swamped by the seas and capsize.Straorzata
BroadsideThe simultaneous firing of all the cannon on one side of a vessel.Fuoco di bordata, salva, scarica
BrowPlatform of joined wooden planks to board or leave a vessel at a pier. Also "gangplank".Passerella, barcarizzo, scalandrone
Buccaneers, boucaniersCaribbean pirates preying on passing merchant vessels of any nationality. Also "picaroons".Bucanieri
BulkheadsPartitions separating areas belowdecks, removed when preparing for battle.Paratie
BulwarksExtensions (1) of a vessel's or boat sides above the level of the deck.Murate, parapetti
BumboatsBoats selling goods of all sorts to anchored vessels.Battelli di servizio
BuntThe middle part of a sail.Pancia della vela
BuntingAll the available vessel's flags hoisted in celebration of some event or occasion.Gran pavese, impavesata, gala
Buntlines, bunt linesLines (centre) tied to the bottom of a square sail to haul it up to the yard when furling.Rinforzi
BurgooPorridge or gruel of oatmeal. Also "dog's body".Zuppa di avena
CableThick anchor line. Also measure of length (200 yards).Gomena, canapo
Cable tierThe dark compartment belowdecks (33) where cables and ropes are stored.Cala delle gomene
Caïque Traditional Mediterranean fishing boat.Caicco
CamberSlight convexity (top left) to a vessel's deck.Bolzone
CamelsLoaded barges lashed on each side of a vessel, then emptied to provide additional buoyancy and reduce the draught of the vessel in the middle.Cassoni di galleggiamento
Canister shotCannon ammunition (right) similar to grapeshot but with more and smaller balls. Also "cartouches".Munizione a mitraglia
CannonThe smoothbore main armament of a sailing vessel, also guns. See Naval Cannon on another page.Cannone
CapsizeTo turn over. Also on beam ends.Scuffiare, ribaltarsi, rovesciarsi
CapstanA broad revolving cylinder with vertical axle through the deck, used for winding a rope, cable or hawser and turned round by Seamen with bars to raise anchors or spars. Also "winch".Argano, sbovo, salpàncora
CaptainThe Commissioned Officer in command of a rated ship. See Naval Ranks on another page.Capitano
Captain's ClerkCivilian hired to help the Commanding Officer manage a vessel's paperwork.Segretario del capitano
Captain's MastFormal disciplinary hearing conducted usually before the mainmast by a Captain or a lower-ranking Commissioned Officer to examine and dispose of cases involving defaulters under their command, concluded by either dismissing the charges or imposing an appropriate punishment.Udienza disciplinare del comandante
Captain's StewardCivilian (left) hired by a vessel's Commanding Officer as a personal servant.Camerotto, famiglio del capitano
CarcassesIncendiary mortar bombshells, hollow cast-iron spheres weighing 190 pounds.Carcasse
CareenBeaching a vessel at high tide to perform maintenance on its normally submerged parts.Spiaggiare, carenare
CarpenterWarrant Officer responsible for the maintenance of a vessel's hull, masts, spars and boats.Carpentiere
CarronadesShort smoothbore cannon usually mounted on a sliding carriage, first produced by the Carron Company of Falkirk.Carronate
Carvel-builtVessel's hull with planks (right) fastened edge to edge, forming a smooth surface.Fasciame a corsi affiancati
Cast offTo free a vessel from its docking lines in order to get under way.Disormeggiare
Cat-o'-nine-tailsWhip with 9 knotted ends, prepared anew and kept in a red baize bag by a bosun's mate, to give lashes to Seamen defaulters. Also "Captain's daughter".Gatto a nove code
Catharpins, cat-harpinsShort ropes or iron clamps to brace in the shrouds toward the masts for a freer sweep to the yards.Crampi di ferro
CatheadsBeams extending laterally at the bow, to raise anchors without hitting the hull and to secure them.Grue
Cats' pawsIrregular wavelets cause by light variable winds on calm waters. Also "ripples".Increspature del mare
CaulkerPetty Officer responsible for maintaining and repairing the caulking of a vessel's hull.Calafato
Caulking, calkingSealing the seams bertween planks with fibers of cotton and oakum, then covering them over with a putty in the case of hull seams, or with melted pine pitch in deck seams.Calafatare
CaySmall, low-lying tropical island. Also "key".Isoletta tropicale
ChainplateMetal strap bolted to the hull (centre right) to which the shrouds are secured. Also "tang".Landra, landa delle sartie
Chains (iron)Ropes or chains running from the outer edges of a top downwards and inwards to a point on the mast or lower shrouds, to prevent the top from tilting relative to the mast. Also futtock shrouds.Rigge
Chains (wooden)Lateral outboard platforms to spread the shrouds, also used by leadsmen to take soundings.Parasartie, battisartie, bancacce
Chain shotTwo round shot linked by a length of chain or a solid bar (also "angels"), to cut enemy rigging. Also langridge.Munizioni a catena, angeli
ChartingSurveying a coastal location for depths and prominent features.Idrografare
Chase guns, chasersSmall cannon in the bow or stern, used to damage a target or evaluate its range.Cannoni in caccia prodieri/poppieri
Chasse-maréesOriginally Breton 2- or 3-masted luggers, converted to coast-patrol duty for the French navy.Pescherecci convertiti a uso navale
ChocksDevices (top) to guide a line.Passacavi, bocche di granchio
CiviliansPersonnel like Captain's Clerk, Cook, Steward hired and paid directly by a vessel's Commanding Officer to assist him in various non-fighting duties. See Naval Ranks on another page.Equipaggio non militare
Church pennantPennant flown at the gaff during religious services aboard.Vessillo di servizio religioso a bordo
Claw offTo beat away from a lee shore.Bordeggio per allontanarsi dalla costa
Clear the deck!Command to Seamen to prepare for battle by removing anything on deck that is in the way.Sgombrare il ponte!
CleatsDevices (mid right) to secure ropes aboard a vessel.Gallocce, tacchi, castagnole
ClewsThe lower corners (13) of sails, to which sheets (2) are attached.Bugne
Clew linesLines (right) attached to the clews of sails, used to reduce their drawing area.Drizze di bugna
Clinker- built, lapstrakeVessel's hull with planks (left) that overlap.Fasciame a corsi sovrapposti, a labbro
ClippersVery fast 3- or 4-masted merchant sailing vessels of the mid 1800s for cargo and/or passengers.Clipper
Close reefingShortening sails to their last line of reef points.Terzaruolare al massimo
CoamingRaised edge around hatches to keep water out.Mastra, mezzanile, battente
CoasterVessel for coastal trade.Imbarcazione da cabotaggio
Club haulingDropping an anchor while sailing at speed, to turn the vessel abruptly.Calare l'ancora mentre alla via
CockbillTo suspend an anchor vertically in preparation to letting it go.Ancora quasi calata
Cocked hatThe bicorne or bicorn was widely adopted in the 1790s, the shorter front brim called "the cock" hence "cocked hat" and the rear brim termed "the fan", forming a semi-circular fan shape. Worn in the side-to-side "athwart" style during the 1790s, the bicorne was normally seen fore-and-aft from about 1800 on.Feluca, bicorno
CockpitBerth for Midshipmen and Petty Officers in the stern or bow (lower left, red) of a vessel.Cabina dei sottufficiali
ColoursA nation’s or a service flag flown at the mainmast and/or the mizzen mast in daytime, and lowered at sunset. See also Daily Life on Board on another page.Bandiera, vessillo
Coming aboutTurning a vessel's bow toward the wind so that it will blow from the opposite side. Also tacking.Virare, accostare
Come-up, coming-up glassTelescope permitting to determine if another pursued/pursuing vessel is getting nearer or farther.Cannocchiale distanziometro
CommanderFormerly "Master and Commander", a Commissioned Officer in command of a vessel. See Naval Ranks on another page.Comandante
CommissionAppointment to Officer's rank made by the Admiralty.Nomina
Commission/decommissionTo formally place in/take a vessel out of active service.Mettere/ritirare in/dal servizio
Commissioned OfficerAn Officer who has received the Admiralty's commission. See Naval Ranks on another page.Ufficiale di nomina
CommodoreCaptain in command of a group of vessels. See Naval Ranks on another page.Commodoro
CompanionwaysStairways (centre right) leading from one vessel's deck to another.Scalette
ConningTo direct the steering a vessel by the Commanding Officer or the Watch Officer on duty.Pilotaggio
CookCivilian hired to prepare food in the vessel's galley.Cuoco
Cooper Petty Officer responsible to the Purser for the maintenance of a vessel's casks and barrels.Bottaio
CorsairsPrivateers issued with a "Letter of Marque and Reprisal" authorising the "Guerre de course".Corsari
Corvette, sloop of warUnrated flush-decked, 2-masted fighting vessel. See Ships' Rates on another page.Corvetta
CotsSwinging beds for Officers, similar to but more comfortable than crew hammocks.Brande
CounterThe part of the stern (a,b top left) over the deck transom and sternpost (a,b bottom).Fornello, carreca
CouttsA private bank and wealth manager founded in 1692 with offices in the Strand, where many RN Officers had their pay and prize money deposited for safekeeping and investment.Banca Coutts
CoursesThe lowermost sails on the foremast and mainmast. Also "foresail" and "mainsail".Vele di gabbia
Coxswain, Cox'nSailor in charge of a boat, Petty Officer commanding the Captain's gig or barge.Timoniere
CrewA vessel's complement of Seamen.Ciurma, equipaggio
CringlesSmall holes (top) rimmed with stranded cordage in the corners of a sail to reef it. Also grommets.Occhielli
CrossjackThe lowest sail (25) on the mizzen mast.Vela di fortuna
CrosstreesTwo horizontal spars at the upper ends of the topmasts or royal masts. Also "spreaders".Crocette
Crow's nestShelter for lookouts at a masthead.Coffa per vedetta
CuddyInexperienced young crewman. Also a nickname for Midshipmen.Marinaio inesperto, Guardiamarina
Cubby, cubby-holeSmall cabin at the stern. Also "cuddy".Stambugio
Cut-out expeditionBoat action in an anchorage to capture enemy vessels lying there.Assalto di porto nemico
CutterA single-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel with at least 2 headsails.Balandra, palandra
DavitDevice for hoisting and lowering a boat.Paranco
Dead reckoningNavigation based on log entries of a vessel's directions, speeds and times.Navigazione stimata
DeadeyesThree-holed blocks.Bigotte, rigotti
DeadriseAngle (bottom right) between a vessel's side and its keel.Stellatura
DeckheadThe ceiling of an enclosed space below decks, the bottom of the deck above. Also overhead.Cielo, soffitto
DeckhandOrdinary Seaman who performs routine labor on board.Marinaio di coperta
DeckhouseEnclosed structure (left) on the vessel's quarter or main deck.Tuga
DecksThe various horizontal wooden surfaces between the sides of a vessel.Ponti, casseri
DefaulterCrewman guilty of some misdemeanour, offense or crime, to appear before the Captain's Mast.Marinaio reo di una mancanza
DerelictAn abandoned sunken vessel.Relitto
DhowSailing vessel with 1 or more masts and lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.Sambuco
DinghyVessel's boat with 6 or more oars.Canotto, dingo
DismastedVessel which has lost one or more of its masts in action or bad weather.Disalberato
Distress (signal)Colours set upside down to signal that a vessel is in a dangerous situation.Segnale di vascello in pericolo
Ditty bagSailor's hold-all bag for personal belongings. Also "sea bag".Sacca da marinaio
Division (crew)Seamen working a battery of 6-8 guns, commanded by an Officer assisted by a Petty Officer.Squadra di batteria
DockA harbour quay, a stone platform lying alongside or projecting into water for loading and unloading ships. Also berth, "wharf, pier, jetty".Molo, banchina, imbarcadero
DockingMooring a vessel to a dock.Ormeggiare, attraccare
DoldrumsEquatorial region of the Atlantic between the Trades and the Westerlies, noted for its lack of wind.Zona delle calme equatoriali
Dolphin strikerA small vertical or near vertical ancillary spar (B) between bowsprit and martingale.Pennaccino, pennacchio, delfiniera
DorySmall, shallow-draft boat with high sides, a flat bottom and sharp bows.Dory
DoubloonA Spanish gold coin worth 2 "escudos", minted in the Americas.Doblone
Draught, draftThe vertical distance (centre right) between the waterline and the deepest part of the keel.Pescaggio
DriftUnwanted movement of a vessel due to its anchor or moorings no longer holding it fast.Scarroccio, deriva
DriverGaff sail (26) set on the mizzennmast. Also spanker.Randa aurica di mezzana, tagliavento
Drydock, dry dockBasin for the construction, maintenance and repair of vessels, that can be flooded then drained.Bacino di carenaggio, di raddobbo
DrogueDevice attached to a vessel's stern to slow it down in a storm. Also sea anchor.Ancora galleggiante
DunnagePersonal baggage, like an Officer's sea chest.Bagaglio personale
East IndiamenShips operating under charter or licence to any of the East India Companies of the 1600s-1800s.Navi di una Compagnia delle Indie
En flûteShip with some or all of her guns removed.Nave spogliata dei propri cannoni
EnsignThe main, largest flag or banner flown by a vessel to indicate its nationality. Also colours.Vessillo, insegna
Entry portOpening in a vessel's bulwarks or side to allow access onboard.Barcarizzo
EpaulettesShoulder boards on Officer's coats.Spalline
EscutcheonPart of vessel's stern where its name is displayed.Fregio sul quadro di di poppa
FairleadDevice to keep a line or chain running in the correct direction or to prevent it rubbing or fouling.Passacavo, passascotte
FantailThe deck on the poop that forms the roof of a cabin in the aft part of the superstructure of a vessel. Also poop deck.Casseretto, rotondo di poppa
FathomMeasure of depth (6').Braccio
FeluccaA small lateen-rigged sailing vessel with a narrow beam, common in the Mediterranean area.Feluca
FiddlesRaised strips of wood on table or desk to keep objects from falling off during ship rolls.Bordi antirollio
Fife railsHorizontal strips of wood joined to the tops of stanchions to belay the vessel's halyards.Cavigliere a piè d'albero, pazienze
FifesFlutes in a military band.Pifferi
Fighting topsPlatforms at the upper end of each lower mast, holding musket and swivel sharpshooters.Cime, coffe di combattimento
FigureheadA carved bust or full-length figure at the prow of a vessel under the bowsprit.Polena
Fire ship, fireshipA ship filled with combustibles, set on fire and steered or allowed to drift into an enemy port.Brulotto
FishingRepairing a damaged mast or spar with a fillet of wood.Lapazzare, inghinare
Flag officerCommissioned officer entitled to fly a flag on the vessel or installation from which he commands.Aiutante di bandiera
FlagshipThe ship in command of a fleet of naval or a convoy of commercial vessels.Nave ammiraglia
FlemishedLine coiled to lie flat on the deck.Cavo addugliato, abbisciato
FlintlockFiring mechanism (animation) for muskets, pistols and rifles, later adopted also on naval cannon.Otturatore a pietra focaia
Flush deckedVessel with upper deck extending from bow to stern.A raso, con coperta continua
Flying jibOutermost jib (1) on the bowsprit.Controfiocco
Flying jib boomSpar (C) over the jib boom (B) further extending the length of the bowsprit (A).Asta del controfiocco
FootropesLines under the yards to support topmen handling sails.Marciapiedi
Fore-and-aft rigSails (right) arranged parallel rather than perpendicular to the line of the keel.Velatura Bermuda
Forecastle, foc's'lRaised forward section of a vessel, housing crew quarters.Castello di prua
ForedeckDeck over the forecastle.Ponte del castello di prua
ForefootLower part (bottom right) of the stem of a vessel.Piede di prua
ForemastThe mast nearest to a vessel's bow.Albero di trinchetto
ForepeakThe part of a vessel's hold (left) within the angle of the bow.Gavone di prua
ForesailsSails (left) on the foremast and the bowsprit, the latter also jibs or "headsails".Vele di strallo del trinchetto
ForestayStay (F) to support a vessel's foremast.Strallo, draglia del trinchetto
FotheringCovering a leaking hole in the hull by tying a sail or other canvas over it.Stagnare una falla
Fouled anchorAn anchor which has become hooked on some impediment on the bottom or has its cable wound round its stock or flukes. The latter also the seal of the Lord High Admiral and the Admiralty.Ancora incattivita, imbrogliata
FounderTo fill with water and sink.Ingavonarsi, colare a picco, affondare
FramesCurved structural elements of a vessel's hull. Also "ribs".Ordinate, centine
FreeboardDistance (right) from the waterline to the upper deck level.Bordo franco, libero
FrigateA 5th-rate fighting vessel. See Ships' Rates on another page.Fregata
Full and by(e)Sailing as close to the wind as possible yet with full-drawing sails.Andatura di bolina stretta
Full rig, full riggedA vessel (bottom left) with square sails. Also square rig, square rigged, "tall ship".Vascello a vele quadre
FurlingTo roll up the sails and secure them to their yards with gaskets, so they will no longer draw.Avvolgere e serrare le vele
Futtock shroudsRopes or chains running from the outer edges of a top downwards and inwards to a point on the mast or lower shrouds, to prevent the top from tilting relative to the mast.Rigge
FuttocksStructural elements (mid top) of a vessel's stem. Also frames.Scalmi staminali
Gaff sail4-cornered, fore-and-aft rigged sail, controlled at its peak and, usually, its head by a gaff spar (3).Vela a tarchia, aurica, controranda
GalleonLarge, multi-decked armed Spanish merchant ship carrying home cargo from the colonies.Galeone
Galley (kitchen)Space under the forecastle where the Cook prepares food for Officers and crew. Also "caboose".Cambusa, cucina
Galley (vessel)Until the advent of square-rigged ships, the most widely used type of war vessel in the Mediterranean, powered by sweeps and lateen sails. Later used by Barbary corsairs and pirates.Galea, galera
GamblingAlthough strictly prohibited on board, a favourite secretive crew pastime involving dice, cards, cockfights, rat and cockroach races, etc. often performed in the cable tier.Passatempi d'azzardo
GangwaysNarrow open-air corridors joining the quarterdeck to the forecastle.Passavanti, passerelle
GarboardPlank (lower left) on a vessel’s bottom next to the keel.Torello
GasketsCords (H) to secure a furled sail to its yard.Matafioni, gerli
GingerbreadDecorative carvings.Intagli ornamentali
GlassA telescope (also called "spyglass", "bring'em near"), or the barometer.Cannocchiale o barometro
Grape, grapeshotCannon ammunition consisting of small metal balls or slugs packed tightly into a canvas bag.Munizione a mitraglia
GrapnelSmall anchor for dragging or grappling. Also "grappling hook", "grapple".Grappino, rampino, raffio
GratingsWooden frames used as hatch covers, and as vertical supports for lashings.Graticci, grigliati, carabottini
Great cabinThe Captain's cabin under the poop deck, spanning the width of the stern with large windows.Cabina del comandante
GrogDiluted rum given daily to the crew by the Purser at the cry "Up spirits!" or "Splice the mainbrace!".Rum diluito per la ciurma
GrommetsSmall holes (top) rimmed with stranded cordage in the corners of a sail to reef it. Also cringles.Occhielli
Gun brigSmall brig-rigged vessel, generally carrying 2 chase long guns and 10 carronades.Cannoniera
Gun calibresExpressed in shot pound weight, depending on the vessel's rate they can vary from small 4-pounder chase guns to heavy 68-pounder carronades. See also Naval Cannon on another page.Calibri dei cannoni
Gun carriageA wooden frame supporting the gun barrel of a cannon, movable on 4 wheels called "trucks".Affusto
Gun deck(s)Decks where vessel's cannon are housed.Ponti dei cannoni
Gun lashingsRopework to secure guns and contain their recoil when fired.Drosse, imbrigliature dei cannoni
Gun portsOpenings in the sides of the vessel through which cannon can be fired.Portelli dei cannoni, sabordi
Gun raftRaft fitted with a large-calibre cannon or mortar for bombardment.Chiatta da bombardamento
Gun toolsTools used by gun crews to service a vessel's cannon.Attrezzeria per i cannoni
Gunner Warrant Officer responsible for the vessel's cannon and ammunition, magazine and powder room.Cannoniere
GunpowderMix of charcoal, sulphur and saltpeter that burns very quickly and propels cannon shot out.Polvere da sparo
GunroomJunior officers' mess (lower left) on the lower deck.Mensa dei Guardiamarina
GunwaleThe upper planking on the side of a vessel, an extension of the bulwark over the gun deck.Capo di banda, falchetta, frisata
GunsThe smoothbore main armament of a sailing vessel, also cannon. See Naval Cannon on another page.Cannoni
Gybing, jibingTurning a vessel's stern through a following wind. Also wearing.Strambare
HailA shout or call to attract attention.Grido, chiamata
Halyards, halliardsLines used to raise a sail, flag, yard or ladder.Drizze
HammocksSince 1597, the sleeping accomodations for the crew: fabric slings suspended between 2 points.Amache, brande
Hammock nettingStowage on gunwales for hammocks to protect deck crew from sharphooters and impede boarders.Bastinaggi, bastingaggi, impavesate
HanceThe steps (centre) from a vessel's quarterdeck to its main deck.Scalini del cassero
HangerNaval sword with a 28" blade. Also "cutlass".Sciabola d'arrembaggio
HanksRings (right) or clips for attaching a jib or staysail to a stay.Canestrelli
Hard tackA type of biscuit made from flour, water, and salt. Inexpensive and long-lasting, used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods as during long sea voyages.Galletta, biscotto
HatchesOpenings in the main deck allowing access below deck.Boccaporti
HaulTo pull a line. Also heave.Alare, tesare, cazzare
Hawse, hawseholeHole in a vessel's bow side through which the anchor cable passes. Also "hawsepipe".Cubia, cubiotto
HawsepiperFormer Seaman risen to the rank of Petty Officer or Officer, "come up through the hawsehole".Sottufficiale ex marinaio
HawserThick rope or cable for mooring or towing a vessel.Gomena, canapo
Head, headsSeamen's open-air privies at the bows.Gabinetti per marinai, serpe
Head seaA sea where waves directly oppose the motion of the vessel.Mare di prua
HeadgearRigging ahead of the foremast (low right).Armo a prua del trinchetto
HeadsailsSails (1,2,3,4) set forward of the foremast of a vessel. Also jibs.Vele di prua, fiocchi
HeaveTo pull a line, to lift or move with effort. Also haul.Tirare, issare
Heave toTo adjust rudder and sails to stop a vessel's forward motion. Also "lay to", "lay by", "luff up".Mettere in panna, alla cappa
HeelThe inclination or canting of a vessel to one side under the influence of the wind on its sails. Also list.Sbandamento
HelmThe single or multiple, 8- or 10-spoked steering device, connected by cables to the rudder.Timone
HelmsmanAble Seaman (left) who steers the vessel.Timoniere
HitchKnot (4,5) to fasten a rope or line to a fixed object.Nodo parlato
HikingReducing a vessel's heel by positioning crewmembers on its weather side.Controbilanciamento
HMS/H.M.S.Acronym/abbreviation for His/Her Majesty's Ship.Nave di Sua Maestà
Hobby horsingTo pitch repeatedly in short seas.Beccheggio ripetuto
HogsheadLarge cask (centre) for liquids, with a capacity of 64 gallons.Barilotto
HoistTo raise, or the device for lifting/lowering a load.Issare
HoldStorage space (16) in the lower part of a vessel's hull below the orlop deck.Stiva
HolystoningScrubbing the decks with bears of sandstone to ensure their smoothness.Raschiatura delle tavole del ponte
HoundsProtrusions high on a mast onto which blocks are hung for the halyards.Teste di moro
HoyHeavy barge used for freight.Chiatta
HulksDecommissioned vessels afloat, providing living, office, training, storage, or prison space.Navi in disarmo
HullThe body of a vessel, meeting the water surface at the waterline.Scafo
Hull downA vessel (extreme left) whose upper parts only are visible over the horizon.Scafo non visibile all'orizzonte
Hung in staysFailed tacking maneuvre, with the vessel not turning through the eye of the wind. Also in irons, in staysVirata mancata
IdlersCrewmen not required to serve watches, like Cooks, Carpenters, Boatswains, Pursers, Sailmakers, Coopers and their mates.Marinai esenti da turni di guardia
In irons, in staysFailed tacking maneuvre, with the vessel not turning through the eye of the wind. Also hung in stays.Virata mancata
InshoreNear, in sight of the shore.Sottocosta
Jack, jack tarA Seaman, the second nickname from dirtying his slops after handling tarred rigging.Marinaio
JackUnion flag worn at the jackstaff.Bandiera
jackass bark
Vessel with 3 or more masts, the foremast square-rigged and the main partially square-rigged
and partially fore-and-aft rigged, the mizzen fore-and-aft rigged.
Goletta con mezzana aurica
Jackstaff, jack staffSmall vertical pole (right) on the bow of a vessel to hold the national flag.Asta di bandiera del bompresso
Jib boom, jibboomSpar (B, green) extending the length of the bowsprit (A).Asta del fiocco
JibsTriangular staysails (1,2,3,4) between the foremast and bowsprit of a vessel. Also headsails.Vele di prua, fiocchi
Jolly boatBoat (top left) used mainly to ferry personnel to and from a vessel.Battellino di servizio
JonasA person bringing bad luck, from Biblical prophet Jonah.Giona
JunksTraditional Chinese lug sail vessels of varying size, with battens spanning the full width of the sails.Giunche
Jury rigMakeshift repairs made at sea to a vessel (at left) damaged by enemy action or weather.Allestimenti di fortuna
KedgingDropping a relatively light anchor as a pivot to perform a turn.Tonneggio
KeelThe lowest structural member at the bottom of a vessel.Chiglia
KeelhaulingPunishment by dragging under the keel for serious defaulters in some navies other than the RN.Giro di chiglia
Kelson, keelsonStructural member (17) fastened to the keel for additional longitudinal stiffness and to bind
the longitudinal members (keel and hog) to the transverse members (frames and floors).
Paramezzale (al centro in basso)
Ketch2-masted vessel.Checchia
Kicking strapLine (67, lower left) used to downhaul the mizzen boom and control the shape of the gaff sail. Also boom vang.Caricabasso, alabasso
Kiss the Gunner’s DaughterUnruly Midshipmen are bent over the breech of a cannon and caned on their bare buttocks. Also over the barrel (of a gun).Punizione corporale dei Guardiamarina
KneesStructural support elements.Staminali, braccioli, mensole, ginocchia
KnotMeasure of speed: 1 nautical mile (1.8520 km, 1.1508 mi) per hour.Nodo marino
KnotsVarious ways of tying cordage securely.Nodi, gruppi
Laid up in ordinaryVessels out of active service for repairs, maintenance or other non-seagoing uses, typically with no sails and uncrossed or no yards on their masts.Navi in disarmo
Lanthorns, horn lanternsLanterns for candlelight illumination belowdecks, its windows of thin ox-horn foil. Also "battle lanterns".Lanterne
Landlubbers, landsmenCrewmen with no previous sailing experience, usually assigned to waisters.Terraioli, terrazzani
LangridgeTwo round shot linked by a length of chain or a solid bar (also "angels"), to cut enemy rigging. Also chain shot.Munizioni a catena, angeli
LanyardCord worn around the neck or wrist. Also a rope to fire cannon equipped with flintlocks.Cordino
LarboardFacing the bow, the left-hand side of a vessel. Also port.Sinistra, babordo
Lashing, lashesFlogging Seamen defaulters with a cat-o'-nine-tails at the gratings before the assembled crew.Fustigazioni
Lateen sailsFore-and-aft triangular sails set on a long yard mounted at an angle to the mast.Vele latine
LaunchA boat (top right) propelled by 8 oars or a sail, usually a vessel's largest.Barcaccia, lancia
Lazy jacks, lazyjacksCordage (blue) on a fore-and-aft rigged vessel to help in its reefing and furling.Cimette per ammainare la randa
LeadDevice to take soundings: a lead plummet attached to a long line with marks made of leather, calico, serge and other materials at intervals along the line, so shaped and attached that it is possible to "read" them by eye during the day or by feel at night.Scandaglio
LeadsmanSeaman who takes soundings with a lead.Scandagliatore
Leach, leechThe lateral sides of a sail. See Sail parts.Balumina, colonna, caduta
LeagueDistance of 3 statute miles.Lega
LeechlinesLines running inwards and upwards from the central edges (leeches) of a sail.Serrapennoni
LeewardDownwind of a point of reference.Sottovento
Lee shoreShore leeward of a vessel.Costa sottovento
LieutenantA Commissioned Officer designated 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th depending on his vessel's rate.Tenente
LighterFlat-bottomed barge moved/steered with sweeps, to transfer goods and passengers to/from vessels.Chiatta
LighthousesAids to navigation with low visibility installed on coasts and islands and managed by Trinity House.Fari
List (angle)Lean or tilt (roll) of a vessel to one of its sides. Also heel.Sbandamento
Living spacesThe inhabited areas (white) below deck in a vessel.Spazi abitabili
Lloyd's of LondonEstablished in 1686 on Tower Street by Scots Edward Lloyd as "Lloyd's Coffee House", a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship-owners to exchange shipping news, it soon became recognised as an ideal place for obtaining marine insurance. In 1774 it became a group of insurance-underwriting syndicates, who obtained a monopoly on maritime insurance related to the slave trade and maintained it until the early 19th century.Assicurazioni Lloyds
Loblolly boysAssistants to the Surgeon. Also surgeon's mates.Assistenti del medico di bordo
Log (device)Measures a vessel's speed based on the number of knots passing through a given period of time.Solcometro
Log, logbook (document)Official daily record of important events in the management, operation, and navigation of a vessel.Giornale, diario, registro di bordo
LookoutCrewman perched high on a vessel's rigging to watch for other vessels, land, navigational hazards.Vedetta, guardiere
Lower deckDeck of a vessel below the main deck and above her hold.Ponte inferiore
Lower deck (crew)The non-officer members of a vessel's company.Ciurma
Lubber's holesOpenings in a masthead allowing easy entry to and exit from it.Buchi del gatto
LuffSteering a vessel closer to the wind.Orzare, venire al vento
Lug sailsFour-sided sails supported by a yard (top) set diagonally to their mast.Vele al quarto, auriche
LuggerSmall sailing vessel with lug sails set on two or more masts.Trabaccolo, lugro
MagazineStoreroom for gunpowder below the waterline, often copper-sheathed to prevent chance sparks.Santabarbara
Main deckUppermost continuous deck from bow to stern. Also "weather deck".Ponte di coperta, coperta, tolda
Mainmast, mainThe tallest mast on a vessel.Albero di maestra, albero maestro
Make and mendTime allowed to Seamen on Sunday or Wednesday afternoons to attend to their clothing. Also rope yarn.Cura dell'abbigliamento personale
Man-of-war, man o' warA rated fighting vessel.Vascello da guerra
Man overboard!Emergency call alerting that someone has gone overboard and must be rescued if possible.Uomo a mare!
MangerSmall foredeck enclosure (right) for livestock, overseen by a Seaman nicknamed "Jemmy Ducks".Mangiatoia
ManifestList of cargo, passengers and crew of a vessel, for customs and other inspecting officials.Manifesto del carico
Man the side!Order to assemble the side party.Ordine di adunata al barcarizzo
Manropes, man-ropesRopes used as a handrails.Corrimano
MarlinspikeTool used in marine ropework.Caviglia per impiombare
MartingaleStay (A) between the tip of the bowsprit and the dolphin striker.Martingala, pennacchio
MasterThe captain of a commercial merchantman.Capitano mercantile, padrone marittimo
Master and CommanderSee Commander. Also the title of an extremely well-researched 2003 film by P. Weir.Capitano comandante
Master-at-armsPetty Officer responsible for the vessel's security and small-arms training of the crew.Capitano d'armi
Master, Sailing MasterWarrant Officer appointed by the Navy Board, responsible for a vessel's navigation and fitting out.Nocchiere
MastheadsPlatforms partway up the masts just above their main yards.Coffe
MastsVertical poles to hold yards and sails. On large vessels they are built from up to 5 sections
(also called masts), known in order of rising height as lower, top, topgallant, royal and skysail masts.
Alberi, fusi
MessThe space below deck where Seamen have their meals and off-watch leisure activities.Mensa
MerchatmenAny non-naval passenger- or cargo-carrying vessels.Mercantili
Mess kidWooden bucket (upper left) to hold a mess's ration of food.Bugliolo per le razioni di vitto
Mess tablesFoldable wooden plank tables, usually accomodating 6-8 Seamen.Tavole da rancio
MidshipmenOfficer candidates, so named as accommodated amidships. See Naval Ranks on another page.Guardiamarina
Midshipmen's cockpitUsed as action station for the vessel's Surgeon and his mates during battle. Also cockpit. Cabina dei sottufficiali
Mizzen mast, mizen mastThe aftmost mast (left) of a full-rigged vessel.Albero di mezzana, artimone
MonkeysYoung boys (left) carrying gun charges from the powder room to the gun decks. Also powder monkeys. Portamunizioni
Moonraker mastTopmost section of a mainmast, rarely on square rigged vessels other than clippers.Albero di contromaestra
Moonraker sails, moon sailsSails on the moonraker masts of a square rigged vessel.Vele, frecce di contromaestra,
gabbiole, uccelline
MooringMaking a vessel fast to a harbour quay, and its location.Attraccare, ormeggiare
MusketThe Sea Service Musket (1778) also called "Brown Bess", main weapon of the Royal Marines.Moschetto dei Royal Marines
Muster bookMaster record of the personnel in a vessel's complement.Ruolino di bordo
MutinyTo overthrow forcefully the shipboard Officers and take over control of the vessel.Ammutinamento
NarrowsNarrow part of a waterway.Stretto
Naval blockadePreventing vessels from entering/exiting enemy ports by seizing them as prizes or sinking them.Blocco navale
Naval-blockaded portsRed line on the map shows the area with ports interdicted to the British and in turn blockaded by them.Porti sotto blocco navale
NayNo, negative reply.No
OakumTarred fibre for caulking the joints of planks.Stoppa per calafataggio
OfficersCommissioned Officers, Warrant Officers (WOs) and Standing Officers, and Petty Officers (POs).
See Naval Ranks on another page.
Officers' hatThe bicorne or bicorn was widely adopted in the 1790s, the shorter front brim called "the cock" hence "cocked hat" and the rear brim termed "the fan", forming a semi-circular fan shape. Worn in the side-to-side "athwart" style during the 1790s, the bicorne was normally seen fore-and-aft from about 1800 on.Feluca, bicorno
Officers' quartersAccomodation (lower left) for Commissioned Officers.Cabine degli ufficiali
OffingDistant area of the sea as seen from the shore.Mare aperto in vista dalla costa
OilskinsWaterproof foul-weather garment. Also "foulies".Cerate, incerate
On beam endsVessel listing 45° or more, in danger of capsizing.Sbandamento di 45° o più, scuffia
Orlop deckThe lowest deck in a ship, usually below the waterline, where cables are stowed.Ponte di stiva
OuthaulsLines used to extend a sail and control the shape of the curve at its foot.Alafuori
Over the barrel (of a gun)Unruly Midshipmen are bent over the breech of a cannon and caned on their bare buttocks. Also kiss the Gunner’s Daughter.Punizione corporale dei Guardiamarina
Over the barrel (of a gun)See kiss the gunner's daughter.Punizione corporale dei Guardiamarina
OverboardObject or person gone into the water from a vessel. Also Man overboard!Fuori bordo, a mare
OverheadThe ceiling of an enclosed space below decks, the bottom of the deck above. Also deckhead.Cielo, soffitto
Packet, packet boatVessel carrying mail packets to and from British colonies, outposts and vessels.Avviso, postale
PainterRope attached to the bow of a boat to tow it or make it fast.Barbetta, gherlino
ParrelBand (8,top) fastening a yard to a mast.Trozza
Paying offLetting a vessel's head fall off from the wind.Poggiare/puggiare
PaymasterA Warrant Officer appointed by the Victualling Board to manage provisions and crew accounts. Also Purser, pusser.Commissario di bordo
Pea jacket, pea coatShort double-breasted overcoat of coarse woollen cloth.Giubba, giaccotto da marinaio
PennantLong triangular flag flown from the masthead of a vessel.Guidone, fiamma, pennello
Petty OfficersMaster-at-arms, Quartermaster, Ship's Corporal, Coxswain, Sailmaker, Yeoman, Armourer,
Caulker, Ropemaker, Cooper and their Mates (if any). See Naval Ranks on another page.
Sottufficiali, marescialli, capi
Picket boatSmall 1-masted boat on sentry, harbour patrol or close-inshore duty.Barca di picchetto
PigtailA plaited lock of hair worn at the back of the head by Seamen. Also "queue".Codino, treccina
Piece of eightA Spanish silver coin worth 8 reals, also called "Spanish Dollar". It could be cut into 8 pieces used as currency or change.Real da 8, pezzo da otto
PilotA maritime pilot or marine pilot or harbour pilot, an experienced, licensed Seaman who handles
vessels through dangerous or congested waters such as harbours or river mouths.
Pin railsWooden bars with vertical holes to accept the shafts of belaying pins.Cavigliere
PinnaceA light boat, propelled by 8-10 oars or sails, serving as a tender.Scialuppa, pinnaccia
Pintle and gudgeonPin or bolt (2) resting in the gudgeon (3), on which a rudder (4,5) pivots for steering.Cardine e femminella
PipeWine cask of ½ tun (240 gallons) capacity. Also "butt".Botte
PipeclayFine white clay used by Royal Marines to whiten their crossbelts. Also "blanco".Argilla sbiancante
Piping the sideThe Bo'sun making appropriate trills with his pipe at the entry port to honour a boarding or departing dignitary.Fischi del Nostromo
PistolMuzzle-loaded, short-range Sea Service firearm, could be used as club when discharged.Pistola navale
Point (angle)Arc of 11°¼ (360/32).Quarta, rombo
Points of sailA sailing vessel's direction of travel under sail in relation to the true wind direction.Andature
Polacre3-masted vessel with a narrow hull, a square-rigged foremast followed by 2 lateen sails.Polacra, polacca, pollacca
PoopEnclosed structure (right) at a vessel's stern above the main deck.Poppa
Poop deckThe deck on the poop that forms the roof of a cabin in the aft part of a vessel.Casseretto, rotondo di poppa
PoopedSwamped aft by a high, following sea.Poppa inondata
Port (side)Same as larboard: with a steering rudder at starboard, it was the vessel's side used to dock.Lato di sinistra, babordo
Port (wine)Sweet red Portuguese wine (Vinho do Porto) used on board in after-dinner toasts. It was customary to propose what was known as the "toast of the day", usually:
  • Monday: our ships at sea
  • Tuesday: our men
  • Wednesday: ourselves, because no one else is likely to bother
  • Thursday: a bloody war or a sickly season (to ensure quicker promotion)
  • Friday: a willing foe and sea room
  • Saturday: wives and sweethearts, may they never meet
  • Sunday: absent friends
Vino di Porto
Post captainAlternative designation for the rank of Captain, implying the command of a rated ship.Capitano
Powder hulkHulk used to store gunpowder.Nave polveriera
Powder monkeysYoung boys (left) carrying gun charges from the powder room to the gun decks. Also monkeys. Portamunizioni
Powder roomA small, copper-plated area close to the magazine where powder charges are prepared by the Gunner wearing felt slippers and passed through felt curtains to prevent their accidental ignition.Polveriera
Presentation swordsRichly decorated swords awarded to Officers by civil authorities for appreciated naval acts of gallantry.Spade onorifiche
Prevailing windsWinds that blow mostly from a single general direction over a particular area on the Earth.Venti prevalenti
Prison shipsHulks where condemned Seamen are confined until their sentence has expired.Navi carcerarie
PrivateersPrivate persons or private war vessels authorised by their country's Government through a "Letter of Marque" to attack and seize foreign shipping. Also Corsair.Corsari
Prize crewCrew assigned to man a vessel taken as a prize and deliver it to a friendly port.Equipaggio per preda catturata
ProwThe forward-most part of a vessel's bow that cuts through the water, above the waterline.
Prow and bow are often used interchangeably.
Prua, prora
Punt (boat)A flat-bottomed, low- draft boat to hunt wildfowl in shallow waters, often equipped with a large bow swivel or shotgun.Barchino
Purser, pusserA Warrant Officer appointed by the Victualling Board to manage provisions and crew accounts. Also Paymaster.Commissario di bordo
Purser's bookPurser's official record of a vessel's provisions and crew earnings (pay, prize money)
and charges (for slops, extra rations, etc.).
Registro del commissario
QuarterThe aftmost side (left), port and starboard, of a vessel's hull.Giardinetto, anca di poppa
Quarter galleriesOfficers' privies.Gabinetti per ufficiali, balconate
QuarterdeckRaised deck (centre) behind the mizzenmast, its windward side reserved to the Officer on watch.
Also bridge.
QuartermasterA Petty Officer or Able Seaman (left) operating as helmsman.Quartiermastro, timoniere
QuayFixed structure on navigable water for loading and unloading vessels. Also "wharf".Banchina, molo, scalo
QuoinWooden wedge (4) to adjust cannon elevation.Cuneo
Raising the anchorSeamen rotating the capstan, often to the rhyhtm of a tune.Salpare l'ancora
Raked mastsVertically inclined masts (red).Alberi angolati
RateOrdinal number system (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th) devised by Admiral George Anson to indicate
a fighting ship's type. See Ships' Rates on another page.
RammingTo drive a vessel into another.Speronare
RatingsCrew members who are not Officers or Warrant officers, i.e. Petty Officers and Seamen.Specialisti e marinai
Ratlines, rattlins, ratlinsLengths of thin line tied between the shrouds to form a ladder for topmen.Griselle
RazeeRated vessel (right) with a reduced number of decks, like a smaller 2-decker to large frigate.Vascello raso, rasato
ReachSee Points of Sail.Andatura al lasco, al traverso
Reave, reeveTo pass ropes over the wheels of a block.Inferire, incarrucolare
Receiving shipsHulks temporarily housing newly recruited or unemployed Sailors before assignment to a crew.Navi deposito
Reducing sailReducing the number of sails aloft exposed to the wind in bad weather.Mettere alla cappa
Reefing sailReducing the area of the sails aloft exposed to the wind in bad weather. Also "shortening sail".Terzaruolare
Revenue cuttersVessels of the King's Customs fighting smugglers, particularly in the Channel area.Balandre anti-contrabbando
Riding lightLight hung from the forestay when at anchor.Fanale di fonda, di stazionamento
RigA vessel's distinctive arrangement of masts and sails.Armamento. armo
RiggingThe complex system of cordage on a sailing vessel:
— Standing rigging: shrouds and stays to support and adjust its masts, sails and spars
— Running rigging: halyards, braces, sheets, outhauls and vangs (on mizzen masts) to trim its sails.
   Manovre, sartiame:
- Manovre fisse, dormienti
- Manovre correnti             
Ring boltA threaded metal shaft with a ring fitted in the end.Golfare
Roads, roadsteadSheltered area outside a harbour where a vessel can lie at anchor safely.Rada, avamporto, angiporto
RobandsShort pieces of spun yarn or other material, to secure a sail to a yard, gaff, or the like.Terzaruoli, terzaroli
RocketsSelf-propelled explosive and incediary ammunition developed in 1804 by William Congreve.Razzi
Rogue wavesUnexpected, large surface waves.Onde anomale
Rolling broadsideThe sequential firing of all the cannon on one side of a vessel.Bordata, salva, scarica sequenziale
Rope yarnTime allowed to Seamen on Sunday or Wednesday afternoons to attend to their clothing. Also make and mend.Cura dell'abbigliamento personale
RopemakerPetty Officer responsible for maintaining and repairing a vessel's cordage.Cordaio
RoundhousesMidshipmen's enclosed privies at the bow.Gabinetti per Guardiamarina
Royal MarinesThe Corps of Royal Marines (RM) was established in 1755 as the Royal Navy's infantry troops.Fanteria di marina
Royal mast4th upper section of a mast.Albero di controvelaccio
RoyalsSails (6,15,22) on the Royal masts of a square rigged vessel.Controvelacci
RudderA vessel's main steering device, placed aft and externally to the keel, governed by helm or tiller.Timone
RunningSailing with a stern wind. See Points of Sail.Andatura al lasco, sottovento
RutterHandbook of written sailing directions, often with illustrations and maps. Also "portolan".Portolano
Ruse de guerreA ruse of war, a deception to trick one's opponent and gain an advantage - e.g. displaying his flag.Stratagemma bellico
SailsThe wind-driven 'engines' propelling a sailing vessel.Vele
Sail namesDifferent names identify square sails depending on their vertical position in a vessel's rigging.Nomenclatura delle vele
Sail partsOn a square sail: head (top), leeches (sides), foot (bottom) with clews to make it fast.Parti delle vele
SailclothMaterial used in making sails: heavy cotton, canvas or hemp.Tela da vele, tela olona
SailmakerPetty Officer in charge of maintaning and repairing the vessel's sails.Velaio
Salutes (crew)Naval etiquette contemplated various salutes on board as signs of respect and obedience:
- Officers to Officers: raising their hats on deck, removing them belowdecks
- Petty Officers and Seamen to Officers: knuckling their heads
Salutes (gun)Shot-less firing of a specific number of cannon to render homage to a Senior Officer or a friendly port.Salve di saluto
SalvageThe activity of saving people and cargo from a shipwreck, and the money earned therefrom.Salvataggio e diritti relativi
Scandalise (sails)To reduce the area and efficiency of sails without properly reefing them.Incazzottare
Scarph jointTwo wood members cut diagonally and joined end to end.Palella
SchoonerUnrated flush-decked, 2-masted fighting vessel. See Ships' Rates on another page.Goletta, scuna
ScowFlat-bottomed boat with a blunt bow, used to haul bulk freight.Chiatta, bettolina
Scroll headDecorative carving at the top of the stem post of a vessel.Ornato, voluta del tagliamare
ScudsThe lowest clouds, mostly observed in squally weather.Nuvole basse di burrasca
ScuddingSailing with a strong, gale wind astern.Scarroccio con burrasca in poppa
ScurvyDisabling disease causing bleeding, tooth loss and painful soft gums due to vitamin C deficiency.Scorbuto
ScuttlingSinking a vessel deliberately.Affondare intenzionalmente
ScuttlebuttsWater barrels with a hole from which sailors could drink. Also the rumours and gossip typically exchanged among Seamen while loitering thereabouts.Cerniere, abbeveratoi
ScuppersWaterways to drain water overboard.Ombrinali
Seamen, Sailors, Hands, Mariners, TarsExcluding Officers, Warrant Officers, Midshipmen and Petty Officers, the rest of the crew classified as either Able Seamen, Ordinary Seamen and Landlubbers depending on their level of skill. See Naval Ranks on another page.Marinai, marittimi, comuni
Sea anchorDevice attached to a vessel's stern to slow it down in a storm. Also drogue.Ancora galleggiante
Securing the gunsUnloading and lashing down the cannon so that they will not be affected by the vessel's motion.Disarmo e blocco dei cannoni
SeacocksValves in the hull to admit seawater.Prese a mare
SheavesPulleys with single or multiple grooved wheels. Also blocks.Bozzelli, bigotte
SheerLongitudinal curvature (bottom left and right) of the main deck.Cavallino, insellatura
Sheers, sheerlegsA 2-legged lifting device.Biga, capra
SheetsLines, ropes, or cables (2) to control the movable corner(s) (clews) of a sail.Scotte
ShellbackA sailor who has crossed the Equator and participated in King Neptune's line-crossing ceremony.Lupo di mare
Ship's complement
(up to 1755)
A vessel's entire population, inhabiting and working in her - including Army soldiers.Equipaggio (fino al 1755)
Ship's complement
(after 1755)
A vessel's entire population, inhabiting and working in her - with Royal Marines replacing soldiers.Equipaggio (dopo il 1755)
Ship rig, ship riggedA full-rigged ship ship denotes a vessel's sail plan with 3 or more masts, all square-rigged.Vascello a vele quadre
Ship's CorporalPetty Officer assistant to the Master-at-Arms.Aiutante del Capitano d'armi
ShipyardArea where vessels are constructed or repaired.Cantiere navale
Shot garlandsWooden frames in the bulwarks to hold shot close to the cannon.Palchetti per le palle da cannone
ShroudsRopes (yellow) to hold a mast up laterally.Sartie
SickbayVessel's compartment on the orlop deck to treat medical cases, also called "lazarette".Infermeria
Side partyA double row of Royal Marines and Seamen at the entry port to honour a boarding or departing dignitary.Parata al barcarizzo
Signal gunSmall-calibre cannon mounted on a bulwark, firing a powder charge to draw attention to signals.Cannoncino per segnalazioni
SignallingExchanging orders or information between vessels, using flags in daytime with good visibility
or flares and lanterns at night or with low visibility. Often accompanied by firing a signal gun.
Segnalazioni, avvisi
SignalsSee Communications on another page.Segnali, avvisi
SkylarkingAntics of Midshipmen and Sailors climbing the rigging and sliding down to the deck for fun.Ruzzare nel sartiame
Skysail mast6th upper section of a mainmast, rarely on other masts.Albero di velaccino
Skysail, skys'lSails (5,14,20) on the skysail masts of a square rigged vessel.Velaccino, pappafico
SkyscraperA triangular rather than square moonraker sail (centre).Belvedere
Slavers, slave shipsMerchant ships specially converted for the slave trade. Also known as "Guineamen".Cable tierCable tierCable tierNavi negriere per la tratta degli schiavi
Sloops-of-warUnrated sailing warships with a single gun deck and up to 18 guns.Brigantini armati, corvette
SlopsCrew clothing issued by the Purser, sold by civilian tradesmen.Abbigliamento per la ciurma
Smack1- or 2-masted fishing boat.Peschereccio
Small beerBeer with very little alcohol, typically about 0.75%, sometimes unfiltered and porridge-like.Birra diluita
SnottiesNickname for Midshipmen.Soprannome dei Guardiamarina
Snow Square rigged vessel with 2 masts, with a snow- or trysail-mast immediately abaft the mainmast.Snow
SoundingsMeasuring the depth of water below the keel of a vessel with a lead.Scandagliamenti
Sou'westerCollapsible oilskin rain hat that is longer in the back than the front to protect the neck fully.Cappello di cerata
SpankerGaff sail (26) set on the mizzennmast. Also driver.Randa aurica di mezzana, tagliavento
SparsPoles of wood in the rigging of a sailing vessel to carry or support its sails. They include: yards, booms, masts and bowsprit.Pennoni, aste, buttafuori
Speaking trumpetLoud hailer to carry orders and messages over distances, in action or in bad weather.Portavoce, megafono
SpikingTemporarily disabling a gun by hammering a barbed steel spike into its touch-holeFerrare il focone di un cannone
SpirkettingDeck planking (23) near the bulwarks.Fraglie, veringole
SplicingJoining two ends of rope together without using a knot.Impiombare il cordame
Square rig, square riggedA vessel with square sails. Also full rig, "tall ship".Vascello a vele quadre
Squared awayYards at right angles to their masts and parallel to the main deck.Pennoni in croce
Standing OfficersWarrant Officers permanently assigned to a vessel for maintenance, repair and upkeep like Carpenters, Gunners and Boatswains. See Naval Ranks on another page.Sottufficiali permanenti di un vascello
Starboard (side)Facing the bow, the right-hand side of a vessel - so named because it accommodated
the lateral steering rudder before central rudders came into general use.
Lato di dritta
StarterKnotted rope end or rattan cane used by Petty Officers to stimulate prompt reaction to orders.Sagola o canna di sollecito
StaysFore-and-aft ropes (A-O) running from the masts to the hull, deck or bowsprit to provide stability,
with ratlines to aid the topmen's ascent aloft.
Stralli, stragli
Staysails, stays'lsTriangular sails (11,12,13) set between the mainmast and bowsprit.Vele di strallo, di taglio, bonnette
Steerage deckThe lower deck of a vessel above the hold, where cargo and passengers are accommodated.Alloggi nel ponte di stiva
SteeragewaySpeed sufficient for the rudder to "bite" and the vessel to be steered.Velocità di governo
StemFront vertical beam (right) of the hull.Ruota di prua
Stepping (a mast)Raising a mast vertically so that it rests securely on the keelson.Inalberare
SternThe after end of a vessel.Poppa
SternwayA vessel moving rearwards due to wind, wave or tide action.Abbrivo poppiero, rinculo
Storage roomsLocked spaces (bottom left) in the hold for victuals and spirits.Spazi di stivaggio di viveri e alcolici
Storm sailsSails that can withstand the extra forces of high winds.Tormentine
StowageThe space available for storing cargo on board.Stive
StragglerVessel becoming separated from the others it sails in convoy with.Ritardatario del convoglio
StrakesStrips of longitudinal planking (red) along a vessel's side to keep it watertight.Tavolame, corsi di fasciame
StrikingHauling down the national colours (right) to signify surrender to an opponent.Ammaina-bandiera in segno di resa
StringersLongitudinal planking (5) for structural strength.Trincarini
Stroke oarThe rower closest to the boat stern at port, setting the stroke rate and rhythm.Primo rematore, capobarca, capo voga
Studding sails, stunning sails, stuns'lsSails on booms extended out of the side of the vessel, on the top of main, lower and upper topsail yards to increase the sail area exposed to a following wind in lighter airs.Scopamare, coltellacci, coltellaccini
SupernumeraryAn unofficial extra passenger on board.Soprannumerario
SurgeonThe vessel's 'doctor', normally in the sickbay or in the vacated cockpit to treat action casualties.Medico di bordo
Surgeon's matesAssistants to the Surgeon. Also loblolly boys.Assistenti del medico di bordo
SwabbingCleaning the deck with a swab, i.e. a mop.Radazzare, frettazzare la coperta
Swabby, swabbieNickname for any member of a vessel's crew with deck duties.Marinaio di coperta
SweepsLong oars used to row vessels with a low freeboard.Remi a scaloccio
Swinging the lampTelling stories, often exaggerated, while belowdecks under the light of swinging lanthorns.Affabulamenti sottocoperta
Swivel gunSmall-calibre cannon mounted on bulwarks and fighting tops, firing canister shot.Archibusone, spingarda brandeggiabile
TabernacleBox-like structure (bottom centre) which supports the lower part of the mast.Scassa, supporto scatolato d'albero
TackingTurning a vessel's bow toward the wind so that it will blow from the opposite side. Also coming about.Virare, accostare
TackleAssemblage of ropes and blocks.Paranchi
TaffrailRailing (top) at the bulwark on the sternmost deck.Ringhiera, balconata di poppa
Taken abackA vessel's sails blown backwards (right) by a wind shift or an inattentive Sailing Master.Vascello con vele sventate
Tampion, tompionWooden plug (right) to close the muzzle of a cannon.Tappo di volata
TarpaulinHeavy-duty waterproof cloth of tarred canvas. Also a nickname for Sailors, like Jack tar.Telone impermeabile, cagnaro
Tell-tale, telltaleA piece of string, yarn, or rope (centre) attached to a stay or shroud to show the local wind direction.Filetto mostravento, segnavento
Tholes, thole pinsPins in the bulwarks of a boat to keep the oars in place while rowing. Also "oarlocks", "dildos".Scalmi
ThwartsStructural crosspieces (top centre) in a boat forming seats for rowers. Also "thafts".Banchi
TidesThe rise and fall of sea level caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces
exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of Earth, changing every 6 hours:
  • Flood tide: level rises over several hours
  • High tide: level risen to its highest
  • (Slack tide: level remains temporarily stationary)
  • Ebb tide: level falls over several hours
  • Low tide: level stops falling and reaches its lowest
Their amplitudes vary with geographical location (see map), time of day and year.


  • Montante
  • Alta, colma
  • (Stanca)
  • Calante
  • Bassa, magra
TillerThe steering device on smaller vessels, directly attached to the rudder.Ribolla, barra di timone
TomahawkBoarding axe.Ascia d'abbordaggio
Top hamperThe upper spars and gear above the deck.Sovrastruttura, sartiame a riva
Topmast2nd section (red) of a mast from the deck of a square rigged vessel.Albero di controgabbia
TopmenSkilled Seamen working aloft on the yards.Gabbieri
Topping liftsLines (centre) that hold a yard to its mast and also allow to raise or lower its position. Also uphauls.Amantigli
TopsWooden platforms to anchor the shrouds of upper topmasts, and perches for lookouts.Coffe
Topsails, tops'lsLower (9,18,24) and upper (8,17,23) sails on the topmasts of a square rigged vessel.Vele di controgabbia
Topgallant mast3rd upper section (top, white) of a mast from the deck of a square rigged vessel.Albero di velaccio
Topgallant sailsSails (7,16,22) on a topmast of a square rigged vessel.Velacci
TowingTo draw a vessel forward by long lines attached to rowing boats.Traino a remi
TransomThe surface formimg the stern of a vessel.Traversa di poppa
Traverse boardWooden board with peg-holes and attached pegs, a memory aid used in dead reckoning navigation to record speeds and directions sailed during a watch.Mostrarombi
Trice upTo haul in and lash secure a sail with gaskets.Issare e assicurare
TrawlersTrawling fishing vessels that could be converted for RN and Customs service use.Pescherecci alla traina
Trim (sails)To adjust a vessel's sails for optimum efficiency in the prevailing wind conditions.Regolare la velatura
Trim (load)To adjust a vessel's cargo and ballast for stability, or to offer the least resistance through water.Bilanciare il carico
Trinity House
of Deptford Strond
A private entity governed under a Royal Charter, responsible for the provision and maintenance of navigational aids, an official deep sea pilotage authority and a maritime charity dispensing funds for retired Seamen, the training of young cadets and the promotion of safety at sea. It examines for and issues pilot's licenses and certificates for merchant masters and mates.Trinity House
TruckWooden cap at the top of a mast with holes through which flag halyards are passed.Formaggetta, galletta
TrysailsThe main fore-and-aft sails (11,12,13) on any mast. Called "spencers" if of smaller size.Vele di strallo, di straglio
TumblehomeSloping sides (top, red) of the hull, to impede boarding and deflect cannonballs.Campanatura dello scafo
Under way, underwayA vessel moving under control, with enough speed to steer with its own rudder or tiller.Alla via
Up and downSlack anchor cable or chain at short stay (3), hanging vertically from the hawsepipe.Ancora flottante
UphaulsLines (centre) that hold a yard to its mast and also allow to raise or lower its position. Also topping lifts.Amantigli
Upper deckThe topmost deck of a vessel. Also main deck, "weather deck".Ponte di coperta, coperta, tolda
VanThe front of a line or convoy of vessels.Avanguardia
VolunteersCivilians joining a vessel's crew of their own free will, often enticed by affixed recruiting posters.Marinai arruolatisi volontariamente
Waist, well deckThe upper deck area amidships, between main and mizzen masts.Mezzanave, mezzania
WakeSea turbulence left behind by a vessel's progress.Scia
WaistersLess skilled Seamen employed in the waist of a vessel.Marinai di mezzanave
WalesThick wooden planks (centre right) fastened to the sides of a vessel to protect them from wear.Cinte di fasciame
WardroomLiving and berthing quarters for Commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers.Quadrato ufficiali
Wardroom cabinsBerths for Commissioned Officers, with a cot or hammock and a table, a cloth curtain for privacy.Cabine degli ufficiali
WarpingTurning an anchored vessel on its axis by hauling on a cable fastened to fixed object or pulled by crewmen ashore. To move a vessel, especially through a restricted place.Tonneggio
Warrant OfficersOfficers holding a King's Warrant rather than a commission for specialised duties like Carpenter, Boatswain and Gunner.Graduati, sottocapi
WashWaves created by a vessel's progress.Onde di scia
WaterlineThe line (centre) where the hull of a vessel meets the surface of the water.Linea di galleggiamento
Watch (of duty)Subdivision of a vessel's working day. See Daily Life on Board on another page.Turno di guardia
Watch OfficerOfficer in charge of a watch.Ufficiale di guardia
WaypointLocation defined by coordinates, part of a planned route.Punto intermedio sulla rotta
WearingTurning a vessel's stern through a following wind. Also gybing, jibing.Strambata, abbattuta
Weather gauge, gageAdvantageous upwind position of a sailing vessel (at right) relative to another (at left).Posizione sopravento
Whaleboat, whalerNarrow rowboat pointed at both ends and thus moving forwards or backwards equally easily.Baleniera
WharfStructure on the shore of a harbour where vessels may dock, with one or more berths and piers, warehouses, or other facilities. Also quay, staith or staithe.Molo, pontile, scalo
WheelVessel's steering device. See also helm.Ruota del timone
WhipTackle, usually on a yard (mid right), to hoist/lower weights to/from a vessel.Verricello
WhipstaffVertical lever controlling a vessel’s rudder.Miccia
WindlassA horizontal revolving cylinder wound with ropes to move heavy weights.Verricello
WindwardUpwind of a point of reference.Sopravento
WivesSeamen are not usually granted leave ashore when in port but at times can be allowed to receive their spouses, real or presumed, on board. Any resulting male offspring would be a "son of a gun".Mogli
WreckThe remains of a vessel that has gone aground and wrecked.Relitto
XebecA Mediterranean sailing, oared vessel for trading or piracy, with a long bowsprit and lateen sails.Sciabecco
YardarmsThe outermost tips of the yards.Varee
YardsThe horizontal poles (1-15), secured to the masts (A-K) with buntlines, holding square sails.Pennoni, antenne
YawlSmall vessel with 2 masts rigged fore-and-aft, its mainmast much taller than its mizzen.Iolla
YeomanPetty Officer with administrative and clerical duties, or in charge of signals.Furiere
termini nautici, dei quali illustrati da immagini da Internet ( anche in italiano).

Tra i vari dizionari consultati sull'argomento, sono disponibili:

  • Dizionario di marina (Ilaria Gallinaro,Giovanni Bàrberi Squarotti, Longanesi, 2000)
  • Grande dizionario di marina - italiano-inglese-italiano (Bernabò Silorata Mario, Picchi Fernando, 1970)
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