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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the names given to ships (ocean-going vessels) from the earliest records to the present day. Political and religious motivations for the giving of names and the changing of them are illustrated from the English, French, and Russian Revolutions. The important role of ‘protective’ naming, including the implicit patronage of saints and divinities, is stressed, and many such formations identified as optative. Categories of name are illustrated from medieval and early modern English and Spanish fleets, and from modern navies, merchantmen, and cruise-lines. The value of ships’ names for ante-dating items in the everyday lexicon is demonstrated throughout.

Keywords: ante-datings, Armada, auspicious, nicknames, political, saints, ships

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