[Ads-l] "Bone in her teeth"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Oct 20 08:46:36 UTC 2014

1823 Koningsmarke, the long Finne, a story of the New World. James K. Paulding. v. 2 p. 223.

They came like birds upon the wing, each, as the sailors say, when the white foam gathers in waves at the bow, "carrying a bone in her teeth," and advancing so rapidly, that, ere the wise heads of Elsingburgh could guess, or reckon, what they wanted, or whither they were going, conjecture was at an end, by the ships …


Stephen Goranson
From: American Dialect Society  on behalf of Dan Goncharoff 
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2014 3:34 PM
Subject: [ADS-L] "Bone in her teeth"

At the maritime nonprofit where I help out, this phrase, referring to boat
moving swiftly, generating a 'bone' of foam at her bow, and looking like a
dog carrying a bone in its mouth.

The earliest I can find is The Atlantic Magazine from September 1824:

"...the fastenings of the boat were unloosed by some "polissons" on the
wharf; up went the sails, and off sailed the boat, proudly dashing the
foaming waters on either side of her bow, or in the more expressive
language of her crew, "carrying a white bone in her teeth."

Can anyone help us do better


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