Nantucket sleigh ride

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English Wikipedia has an article on:
A Nantucket sleigh ride

Alternative forms[edit]


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Nantucket sleigh ride (plural Nantucket sleigh rides)

  1. (idiomatic) An obsolete and dangerous method of whale hunting in which a small boat manned by rowers and a harpooner, or a series of small boats tied together, would be attached to a whale by means of a harpoon and would then be towed by the creature at high speed across the water's surface, until the whale eventually became exhausted.
    • 1905 Dec. 31, A. B. Hawser, "My Nantucket sleigh ride," Boston Globe, p. SM10 (retrieved 22 August 2013):
      If we can fasten a good fish tomorrow when you are with us," said the captain of the New Bedford whaling bark Morning Star to me, "I will try to give you a Nantucket sleigh ride."
    • 2007 July 29, Bruce Barcott, "In the Shadow of Moby-Dick," New York Times (retrieved 22 August 2013):
      [The] crew pushed out in a small boat and pierced the whale with a harpoon attached to a rope secured to the boat. Then it was hang on for your life. “A whale barreling along at the surface would take the men on the proverbial Nantucket sleigh ride, a bone-jarring, terrifying and, at times, no doubt exhilarating trip over the waves,” Dolin writes.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) A similar scenario involving a large fish.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Use of this term is sometimes attributed to Herman Melville, author of Moby-Dick, but actually is not found in the text of his published works.