"Galley" missing from the OED?

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Oct 27 03:25:11 UTC 2011

>And was the 18th century, where I see "galley", overlooked in the
>19th century?

There are a lot more sources looked at today than in the past. Updated
entries frequently have older senses that previous editions missed.

And you're right, Americans or British would not have employed ocean-going
galleys in the eighteenth century.

But there is this, from Smyth's 1867 "Sailor's Word-Book" in the entry for
galley (from which the OED also copied the opening sentence for its
definition of "galley"):

"Also an open boat rowing six or eight oars, and used on the river Thames by
custom-house officers and formerly by press-gangs; hence the names
'custom-house galley,' 'press-galley,' &c."

This sense corresponds with the OED's definition 3. Could these craft be
what your custom-house records refer to? (Without seeing the citations it's
kind of hard to figure out what these "galleys" refer to.)

There is also "gallias," which is another type of ship altogether.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list