from stem to stern

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Prepositional phrase[edit]

from stem to stern

  1. (nautical) Over the full length of a ship or boat, from the front end of the vessel to the back end.
    • c. 1608, William Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, act 4, sc. 1:
      Marina: My father, as nurse said, did never fear,
      But cried ‘Good seaman!’ to the sailors . . .
      Never was waves nor wind more violent;
      And from the ladder-tackle washes off
      A canvas-climber. ‘Ha!’ says one, ‘wilt out?’
      And with a dropping industry they skip
      From stem to stern.
    • 1836, Washington Irving, chapter 18, in Astoria:
      [T]he boats resounded with exclamations from stem to stern, "voila les Sioux! voila les Sioux!"
    • 1961 Dec. 1, "Armed Forces: The Mightiest Ever," Time:
      From stem to stern, the [U.S.S.] Enterprise measures 1,040 ft.—roughly the height of the 102-story Empire State Building.
    • 2006 Dec. 28, Robert Drury and Tom Clavin, "How Lieutenant Ford Saved His Ship," New York Times (retrieved 23 Aug. 2012):
      [T]he Monterey was ablaze from stem to stern as Lieutenant Ford stood near the helm, awaiting his orders.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) From front to back; from one end to the other end; entirely, fully.
    • 1861, Charles Reade, chapter 58, in The Cloister and the Hearth:
      [T]he horse was the vainer brute of the two; he was far worse beflounced, bebonneted, and bemantled, than any fair lady. . . . [T]his poor animal from stem to stern was swamped in finery.
    • 1945 Aug. 27, "Science: War on Insects," Time:
      Michigan's Mackinac Island, the Lake Huron resort where automobiles are barred, was sprayed from stem to stern with DDT.
    • 2005 Oct. 12, Marian Burros, "Take My Steak. Please." (restaurant review), New York Times (retrieved 23 Aug. 2012):
      Weighing in at four pounds, the lobster was rubbery and tasteless from stem to stern.