"cunt splice/ cuntline"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 20 01:29:39 UTC 2013

Not in OED but any old seadog should be able to tell you what they mean:

 I "Cunt-splice": (see 1685 quot.)

1685 Nathaniel Boteler _Six Dialogues about Sea-Services_ (London: Pitt)
192: Of these Splices there are two sorts, the round Splice, that is (as
aforesaid) the intervening of the ends of two Ropes one into the other; and
that which is (barbarously) nicknamed the Cunt-splice, which is when the
Strands of either Rope are put one into another, a good distance off from
the very ends, and the very ends left out unspliced; by which means is made
a long Slit; the which, with the rude Name-givers, begat the Name.

1708 _A Military Dictionary_  (ed. 3) (London: Morphew) [n.p.]: The
Cunt-Splice, which is, when the End of one Rope is splic'd into another
Rope, at some distance from the End, and not one End into another.

1780 _The Royal Dictionary, English and French, and French and
English...New Edition...Enlarged with a Great Number of...Maritime Terms_
 (Lions: Bruyset) II (s.v. splice, n.) : Cunt Splice, n. E'pissure en
portiere de vache.

1792 Charles Romme _Dictionnaire de la Marine Francoise_ (Paris: Chauvet)
283: Cette e'pissure porte le nom d'e'pissure 'a portiere de vache, _cunt
splice_, _cunt line_.

1794 David Steel _The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship_
(London: Steel) 174: The CUNT-SPLICE, which forms an eye in the middle of a

1797 Tomas Connelly _Diccionario Nuevo y Completo de las Lenguas Espanola
e' Inglesa_   (Madrid: Pereyra) II 452: Cunt splice (_Nav._) Costura doble.

1801 J. J. Moore _The British Mariner's Vocabulary_  (London: Hurst):  The
_cunt_ SPLICE  is constructed in a similar manner to the _eye splice_, but
for a different purpose, being chiefly used in lead-lines, log-lines, and
fishing-lines, where the short splice would be liable to separation, as
being frequently loosened by the water....Plate 8, fig. 114.

1841 Benjamin J. Totten _Naval Text-Book: Letters to the Midshipmen of the
United States Navy_  (Boston: Little) 399: A _cunt-splice_, is formed by
joining the ends of two ropes, or splicing the end of each into the bight
of the other, at equal distances from the ends so that the line becomes
double in the extent of the splice, forming a long-eye; used in lead and
log lines, &c.

II  Cuntline  1. (see 1792 quot. above). 2. (see 1794 quot.) 3. (see 1801

1794 David Steel _The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship_
(London: Steel) 56: Work the worming into the cuntline of the rope. Ibid.
165: CUNTLINE. The intervals between the strands of a rope.

1801 J. J. Moore _The British Mariner's Vocabulary_  (London: Hurst):  CUNT
LINE,  the space left  by laying two casks end to end; thus, we say to stow
bilge and cunt-line; that is, to put the bilge of one cask in the vacancy
of the narrow ends of two others coming together, as _a-_ lies in the
cunt-line of _b_ _c_, fig. 27, plate 2.

1813 [Edmund M. Blunt] _Seamanship_ (N.Y.: Blunt) 75: Observing not to
cause a breakage in the next tier above, which is stowed in the cuntline of
the ground tier: bung up and bilge free. Ibid. 99: Worm the end in the
cuntline and stop it.

1841 Benjamin J. Totten _Naval Text-Book: Letters to the Midshipmen of the
United States Navy_  (Boston: Little) 356: _Cuntline_, the intervals
between the strands of a rope, called sometimes the _lay_ "-a worming is
passed in the lay of the rope_."  It is also the space between the bilges
of casks, stowed together. Thus casks are said to be stowed _bilge and
cuntline_, when the bilge of the riding cask rides in the cavity formed
between four casks.

 1944 Clifford W. Ashley _The Ashley Book of Knots_ (Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday) 540: A three-inch rope was sometimes wormed along a single
cunt-line of the ship's cable to protect it at the anchor ring and at the
hawse pipe.

Naturally, you can't make this stuff up. Perhaps the etymologies somehow
have nothing to do with the obvious. The words must have been pretty, um,
familiar to make it into these (and other) sources.

Both are in W3, if memory serves. Not in HDAS because I figured they must
have been too jargonesque to count as "slang."  Well, maybe.

Apparently at some point "cunt-splice" was replaced by "cut-splice."

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list