Q: "Nantucket coach"?

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 9 05:01:15 UTC 2012

There is a term "Nantucket sleighride" "Nantucket sleigh-ride"
"Nantucket sleigh ride" that may help to illuminate "Nantucket coach"
or it may be unrelated.

The OED has an entry for it:
Nantucket sleigh ride, n.
U.S. slang
  Esp. among whalers: the towing of a boat by a harpooned whale or
shark; an instance of this.
1835   F. Warriner Cruise Potomac xxv. 311   ‘Now for a Nantucket
sleigh ride!’ and away went the little boat in the direction of the
line of the harpoon.

Wikipedia has an entry for Nantucket sleighride

I originally heard of the term Nantucket Sleighride because it was
used as an album title in the 1970s by the rock band Mountain.


On Sat, Dec 8, 2012 at 11:15 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Q: "Nantucket coach"?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In his 1824-1827 story "Peter Rugg, the Missing Man," William Austin
> writes "The chair in which Rugg sat was very capacious, evidently
> made for service and calculated to last for ages. The timber would
> supply material for three modern carriages. This chair, like a
> Nantucket coach, would answer for everything that ever went on wheels."
> http://tinyurl.com/c7xhtp3
> What is a "Nantucket coach"?  I have not found any explanation, or
> even instances, not counting Austin's tale and various coaches of
> Nantucket sports teams.  Except for one -- Alain Geoffroy claims,
> referring to Austin's use, that it is "a local expression used to
> designate a whaleboat tugged by the whale once the harpoon has been
> stuck into the animal."
> http://laboratoires.univ-reunion.fr/oracle/documents/from_peter_rugg_to_paul_revere.html
> Geoffroy's source is -- 'Zimbalatti refers to the phrase as a
> "Nantucketism." "A Nantucket coach is not a type of stagecoach, but a
> reference to a whale. . . . Nantucket whalers referred to the upper
> jaw of a whale as both a 'coach' and a 'sleigh.' . . . Austin merely
> substitutes the synonymous term 'coach' for 'sleigh'
> (127).'  Zimbalatti = Zimbalatti, Joseph A.. Anti-Calvinist Allegory:
> A Critical Edition of William Austin's "Peter Rugg, the Missing Man,"
> Ph.D., (Fordham University, N.Y., 1992).  I don't know what
> Zimbalatti's authority is.
> OED2 s.v. "sleigh" has sense 3, with the single quotation
> 1874   C. M. Scammon Marine Mammals N. Amer. viii. 75   Next to and
> above the bone of the upper jaw (which is termed the 'coach' or 'sleigh').
> Geoffroy seems to have morphed Scammon's "coach" and Zimbalatti's
> "Nantucket coach" from a part of a (Nantucket) whale into a
> (Nantucket) whaling boat tugged by a whale.
> Joel
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