NAUTICAL SAYINGS COPPER BOTTOMED
Friday January 30th, 2009
A TRUSTY SOLUTION TO A BORING PROBLEM
Today you could quite expect one of the UK’s increasingly young subculture known as ‘chavs’ to think that referring to someone as being copper bottomed meant they were a ‘hard ass’. Hence it is probably a phrase one should only use in more mature and literate company when describing a fellow, lady or item that is solid and trustworthy.
As nearly always in these cases the term has a nautical history that dates back to timber built ships and a problem with wood boring molluscs. To prevent this potentially very damaging and dangerous nuisance in the mid eighteenth century they came up with the idea of sheathing the hulls of ships with copper thus protecting the vessels and all who sailed on them.