ALL AT SEA ORIGIN
Wednesday September 22nd, 2010
ALL AT SEA
Today the commonly used phrase ‘All at Sea’, meaning in a state of confusion, appears to make little sense. However it dates back to the early age of sail, before accurate navigational instruments were available. Once a ship was out of sight of land it was deemed to be ‘at sea’ and basically at risk of becoming lost. It was often used during the 18th when referring to ships that had not returned to port.
It is unsure exactly when the ‘all’ was added although the first literary reference comes from Travel and Adventure in South-East Africa, by Frederick C. Selous 1893: 'I was rather surprised to find that he seemed all at sea, and had no one ready to go with me.'