captain's servant

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captain's servant (plural captain's servants)

  1. (nautical, historical) Before 1796, the rating of a boy entering the Royal Navy at about the age of twelve before becoming a midshipman.
    • 1905, John Masefield, Sea Life in Nelson's Time:
      "When one reads of a distinguished naval officer having been "a captain's servant," it does not mean that he blacked the captain's boots, mixed his grog, and emptied his slops, but that he entered the service under a captain's protection."