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Three Sheets To The Wind Sailing Origins

Sister Patricia Marie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders why we use three sheets to the wind to describe someone who is inebriated. In nautical terminology, some of the ropes, or lines, attached to the corner of a sail are called sheets. If three of...

At Large

If a suspect is at large, he is moving about freely. The term at large, which comes to us via French from Latin, refers not to size but to distance. The phrase by and large, meaning “generally” or “on the whole,” derives from...

Three Sheets to the Wind

A wedding photographer says she happens to run into lots of people who are three sheets to the wind, and wonders why that term came to mean “falling-down drunk.” Turns out, it’s from nautical terminology. On a seagoing vessel, the...