splice the mainbrace

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From splice + mainbrace. Splicing the mainbrace, a heavy piece of running rigging that supported the main yard was a skilful and arduous task, so that the men responsible would be rewarded with an extra tot of rum. Nowadays, a ceremonial order to pour a drink for a ship's company. (This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “Can we source the statement about a reward?”)


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splice the mainbrace

  1. (nautical, idiomatic) To have an alcoholic drink.