thumbnail

Nautical Words Quiz

Can you guess these "nautical" words, based on a definition?
Quiz by Quizmaster
Rate:
Last updated: January 28, 2014
You have not attempted this quiz yet.
First submittedJune 14, 2011
Times taken39,421
Average score58.3%
Rating4.47
5:00
Enter word here:
0
 / 24 guessed
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %
This beats or equals % of test takers also scored 100%
The average score is
Your high score is
Your fastest time is
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Definition
Word
Right
Starboard
Left
Port
Back part of a ship
Stern
Front part of a ship
Bow
Kitchen
Galley
Toilet
Head
Material thrown overboard
Jetsam
Floating wreckage of a ship
Flotsam
Crustacean that attaches to the
underside of a ship
Barnacle
Tower that supports the sails
Mast
To revolt against the captain
Mutiny
The downwind direction
Leeward
Definition
Word
Waves made in the path of a ship
Wake
Heavy material put in a ship to provide stability
Ballast
To strand someone on a deserted island
Maroon
Watered down rum given as rations
Grog
Hard, dry biscuit used for long voyages
Hardtack
Slang for captain, especially
on Gilligan's Island
Skipper
Cargo area
Hold
Nautical version of "Hey!"
Ahoy
Commander of a naval fleet
Admiral
Nautical command for "Stop"
Avast
This is dropped to keep the ship in place
Anchor
To punish by dragging under the keel of a ship
Keelhaul
63 Comments
+6
Level 93
Jan 24, 2014
Some other good words are bulkhead, deck, overhead and compartment.
+6
Level 11
Dec 24, 2014
LOL you MUST be in the Navy!!!
+4
Level 81
Jul 19, 2020
The first thing I thought was "airplane"
+3
Level 92
Jan 28, 2014
for the last, did you mean 'under the keel of a ship?' Was surprised simply 'tack' wasn't accepted, but not a big deal.
+2
Level ∞
Jan 28, 2014
Fixed the typo and tack will work now.
+4
Level 66
Jul 18, 2020
Tack is a maneuver, not a food.
+3
Level 89
Oct 13, 2022
Tack is also food.
+3
Level 90
Feb 17, 2014
100 Parrrcent!
+1
Level 30
Feb 18, 2014
I see what you did there.
+4
Level 57
Feb 18, 2014
Missed jetsam and flotsam by spelling them "jetsom" and "flotsom".
+2
Level 77
Mar 3, 2014
More terms to include would be forecastle (Pronounced Folksle) and the Fantail.
+3
Level 57
Jul 29, 2015
You'll sometimes seen it written out as "fo'c'sle."
+2
Level 58
Apr 30, 2014
Yard arm, reef, forecastle, brig, cable tier, quarterdeck, poop deck,
+2
Level 71
Mar 27, 2023
Helm, windward, sextant, cabin...
+4
Level 7
Jun 22, 2014
Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term.
+5
Level 80
Oct 22, 2014
Always wondered what "avast" meant.
+3
Level 57
Jul 29, 2015
From the English "hold fast," or the Dutch "houd vast."
+2
Level 83
Nov 2, 2014
Latrine
+2
Level 70
Dec 9, 2014
Always 'Head' or 'Heads' in British Navy anyway.
+8
Level 57
Jul 29, 2015
"Latrine" is more commonly used in the Army, not so much in the Navy.
+4
Level 89
Jan 10, 2019
Nope.
+3
Level 82
Dec 3, 2019
I thought a latrine was a hole in the ground dug for pooping in. Used in the army and the Boy Scouts.
+1
Level 11
Dec 24, 2014
i see there's a lot of sailors on here lol
+3
Level 59
Nov 17, 2015
When trying to think of the nickname for captain, I asked myself, "What nickname does Gilligan use for the Skipper?" (Duh).
+3
Level 83
Nov 25, 2015
I know most of these terms in French just from reading Jules Verne novels... Turns out I don't know as many in English.
+1
Level 75
Feb 24, 2016
I always thought the skipper was second in command. Otherwise that game Captain, Skipper, Mate doesn't really make any sense
+3
Level 55
Mar 29, 2016
Thank you to "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies for teaching me some of the more obscure ones.
+1
Level 70
Nov 6, 2016
Good quiz, Just one little comment, I would like the wording to be "Waves made BY the path of a ship"
+1
Level 69
Jan 10, 2019
but the path doesnt make the waves, there is no path if there is no ship. Like the path i take doesnt flatten the grass, it is not the path that flatten it, I/my shoes do. The path is an abstract concept so it has no influence on the waves it is just the future direction the ship is heading
+1
Level 66
Mar 20, 2022
For sure the waves aren't made BY the path of the ship, but they're not IN the path of the ship either - For that to be the case, something else would have to be making them in front of the ship. The wake is the pattern of waves made by the motion of the ship through the water
+1
Level 71
Oct 11, 2022
Question made me think first of bow wave, as to me 'in the path' suggested something ahead of the vessel rather than visible behind
+6
Level 56
Nov 6, 2016
Guybrush Threepwood told me most of these
+2
Level 69
Nov 6, 2016
No "scuttlebutt"?! Grat quiz though, I got 100!
+1
Level 66
Nov 6, 2016
Starboard! Port. Skipper. Deck. Cabin. Galley. Keel. 1924!
+2
Level 69
Jan 10, 2019
somehow that made me think of the penguins of madagascar...
+4
Level 65
Nov 6, 2016
Please accept fore and aft for the front and back parts of a ship.
+1
Level 89
Oct 13, 2022
That's directional. You say aft of something or back aft, but you'd never say the aft of the boat.
+2
Level 76
Nov 6, 2016
Is there any reason why there is so much jargon when it comes to sailing? Why does sailing need its own terms for right/left/toilet etc?
+10
Level 68
Nov 7, 2016
It is actually helpful to differentiate between port/starboard and right/left when on a ship. The starboard side is on the right if you are facing forward. If you turn around and start walking aft, then the starboard side of the ship is on your left.

Said another way, right/left reference you, port/starboard reference the ship. Just like west is generally left on a map, but west and left are quite different.

In some cases sailing does need it's own terms for things because they precisely describe important things and concepts. In other cases, it is just a matter of history and the evolution of sailing technology. In this respect, it is no different than any other specialized field. I think that the reason sailing has a particularly rich and diverse jargon is that sailors were much more isolated than other craftsmen and specialists.

+2
Level 70
Feb 11, 2017
Starboard is derived from the old Norse Styri boro where Styri means Rudder and Boro refers to the side of the ship. Olden ships were steered by a long oar-like projection on the right side of the ship (most people right-handed) and because of this the ship would pull into a wharf on the clear side or Port side.
+1
Level 69
Jan 10, 2019
yea stuurboord in dutch and stuur is steering(wheel),

But it is (afaik) not derived from norse, norse just like dutch and german have a similar word for it. And all of thóse derive from an even older shared root, Proto-germanic

+2
Level 67
Jul 18, 2020
I once read in a book of interesting facts that the word "posh" is derived from passenger ships to India. High-class passengers would be on the port side on the journey out, and starboard on the way home, so they could avoid the direct heat of the sun. Their luggage was stamped "P.O.S.H." to indicate "Port Out, Starboard Home." I seriously doubt that's the origin of the word, but it's a neat story nonetheless.
+3
Level 77
Sep 13, 2023
Yeah, that's a popular story, but absolutely no evidence for it. If an "interesting fact" says a word started life as an acronym, it's almost certainly made up. The primary exceptions to this rule are words for things that were invented, such as laser, scuba, radar, and taser.
+1
Level 60
Nov 7, 2016
Fun quiz. Never heard of hardtack though - could only think of sea biscuit and ships biscuit - it seems there are a lot of different words for that.
+1
Level 73
Nov 8, 2016
took forever to get flotsam...thought correct spelling was floatsam..you know..."floating"
+1
Level 74
Dec 26, 2016
Nice place to use "abeam ".. so we can burst in flames discussing about the proper use of that.
+1
Level 56
Mar 21, 2017
To stop a ship is to "heave to."
+2
Level 70
Apr 9, 2017
Also if you drink too much Ouzo.
+1
Level 48
Oct 26, 2018
lived on a small boat for 3 years, so this was pretty easy
+2
Level 69
Jan 10, 2019
should bow wave be accepted aswell. And aft (or even poop) for stern.

And i wrote leeway instead of leeward :/ I knew sort of but it is double hard in english

+1
Level 69
Jan 10, 2019
forgot to check the box... see above
+1
Level 79
Dec 3, 2019
Knew several of these words from Treasure Island ;)
+1
Level 46
Jun 28, 2020
Great quiz. Ship’s mess instead of galley?
+3
Level 55
Jul 18, 2020
Please accept "come to" and "heave to" for "stop". Sailors actually say "come to"; only boys pretending to be pirates say "avast".
+1
Level 60
Jul 18, 2020
"Heave to" for stop, and "Castaway" for left on an island?
+3
Level 61
Jul 18, 2020
Water is the nautical term for the liquid that ships float on.
+2
Level 75
Jun 14, 2021
Yeah but we have to give the land lubbers a chance, nothing overly technical.
+4
Level 45
Jul 20, 2020
A ship carrying blue paint collided with a ship carrying red paint...both crews were marooned.
+2
Level 67
Jul 22, 2020
leeward direction is really a bit misleading. Leeward is the downwind side. The direction is downwind
+1
Level 78
Oct 4, 2022
couldn't resist trying "poop deck" for toilets
+2
Level 37
Oct 11, 2022
Fun fact: "Port" used to be referred to as "Larboard" before the term was changed because it sounded too similar to "starboard"

In addition, "Avast" as a stop command eventually fell out of favor; by the early 20th Century in Titanic's day, the stop command was now "All stop," possibly in reference to the fact that bigger ship were powered by multiple engines and said command was essentially a way of saying "Stop all the engines" (This however, I can't confirm; maybe some one else can)

+1
Level 78
Dec 16, 2023
Wow!! They really were fun facts!! I'm so glad that you took the time to share them with us!!
+1
Level 77
Apr 21, 2024
I'm a boatman, and a tan man. Me me, I'm a tan man!