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NAUTICAL SAYINGS A CLEAN SLATE

Tuesday April 28th, 2009
ImageCLEAN SLATE
Often thought to stem from early school practices when children were issued with slate to write on in class the phrases ‘clean slate’ and ‘wipe the slate clean’, meaning a fresh start, actually stem from nautical practice. During each watch aboard a ship a record of relevant details would be made by the watch keeper –courses, distances, speeds, tacks and any problems. These would be written on slate tablets with chalk. If, at the end of his watch, there were no problems to report the tablets would be wiped clean ready for the next watch
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