mess gear

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Nov 25 19:58:53 UTC 2008

Not in latest OED revison, this is (or was) in official U.S. naval usage for "the call to mess; the time for such a call."
1895 William H. Stayton _Naval Militiaman's Handbook_ (N.Y.: A.R.Pope) 91: The Boatswain's Mates will be directed to "pipe mess gear."  1898 A.C. Parkerson _How Uncle Sam Fights_ (Baltimore: A. H. Woodward)24: At 7:50 the whistles pipe "mess gear." 1901 in Frederick T. Wilson A Sailor‘s Log (Kent, O.: Kent State U. P., 2004)   298: We went below and had supper, it being just then "mess gear."    Ibid.  313: After "pipe down" and at "mess gear" the "perambulating merchants" were allowed  aboard. 1940  John W. Ganzhorn _ I've Killed Men_ (London: Robert Hale) 122: We didn't need the bos'n's mate piping mess gear to tell us that it was mess time. 

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