Saturday, April 14, 2012

A to Z Challenge: M - Marlinspike

Marlinspike

This fun word appears in the first paragraph of one of my favorite recent reads, The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A.S. King.

mar·line·spike also mar·lin·spike [mahr-lin-spahyk] n. A pointed metal spike, used to separate strands of rope or wire in splicing

Synonyms: marlinespike, marlingspike

Etymology: (from Marlin) large marine game-fish, 1917, shortening of marlinspike "pointed iron tool used by sailors to separate strands of rope" (1620s), from M.Du. marlijn "small cord," from marlen "to fasten or secure (a sail)," probably frequentative of M.Du. maren "to tie, moor." The fish was so called from the shape of its elongated upper jaw.

32 comments:

Cherie Reich said...

Marlinspike, what an interesting word to have in a first paragraph. :)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Wicked mad!

Kristen Pelfrey said...

Love The Dust of 100 Dogs.
Also, we need these for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That one I knew.

farawayeyes said...

Great word and an even greater read. I love the thought of all those guys with that Marlinspike through their eye. Hah! maybe I should not have said that.

Cassie Mae said...

How big is this thing?

Michael G-G said...

I was wondering what you'd come up with, after your conversation last night with Lord Aberlour. I'm happy to report that this morning my head did not feel like it had a marlinspike through it.
Mazel Tov!

L.G.Smith said...

That one I did not know, but will now gladly swipe and use in my own writing. :))

welcome to my world of poetry said...

That was some first word.

Yvonne.

A Quiet Corner said...

What an interesting and odd word to be placed first! Drawing in the reader?...:)JP

Nancy Thompson said...

Nope, didn't know this one, but if I had to take a guess, that is not the definition I would have picked. Mine would have been much gorier!

Sue McPeak said...

Will be sure to have if ever I go Marlin Spiking! Well done for the Letter M.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the pic. I've always wondered what one of these looks like.

J.C. Martin said...

Cool word! And what an interesting one to read in a book--in the first paragraph, no less!

Marta Szemik said...

Very nice word. I like the sound of this one:)

Stephanie said...

Cool word. Great M post, and now I have a new book for my read list.

Chuck said...

I need one of these just cause it looks so badass! Great site, I'll hang for a while umkay? Thanks for stopping by and visiting during the A-Z..hope to see you again.

Emily Moir said...

Yay I learned a new word today! Thanks for that :)

Botanist said...

I love that word. I knew it was something nautical but not what it was used for, nor what it looked like. Every novel should have one :)

Clarissa Draper said...

Never heard of it but it sure sounds super duper... well, semi-interesting.

Andrew Leon said...

I think I read at some point a long time ago that those things started out as bones from marlins or something.
Can't remember for sure, though.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog on the A to Z tour. You've picked an interesting theme, so I'll be scrolling down to catch up.

Patricia Stoltey

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wow. Not a bad weapon I'll bet.

Rebecca Bradley said...

It looks like it could fit in very well in a crime novel!

Rick Daley said...

It makes me feel bad for Nemo's dad for some reason...

Nick Wilford said...

The first thing I thought of when I saw your title was the home of Captain Haddock - Marlinspike Hall. Massive Tintin fan back in the day.

Dawn Ius said...

Ah! My husband's a fisherman, so I was working through the etymology a bit and ALMOST guessed this word. Great M word.

maine character said...

So the fish was named after the tool?

I always wondered why it was called a marlinspike, and seeing a picture of it, I get it, but it seems it was the other way around.

Wine and Words said...

Neat. I never knew there was such a thing. No wonder I have so much trouble with my knots!

Rusty Webb said...

Well, it's good to know some obscure words can still make their way into a novel. If we keep using them then they will never die.

Joshua said...

That's a strange word in any usage.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

yeah... i think i must be disturbed because the instant i looked at this i imagined it sticking outta someone's skull...
eep!