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Feb 27, 2017
This week’s theme
Words having nautical origins

This week’s words
offing

Ships in the offing
Ships in the offing

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

We all were born in the ocean, in a manner of speaking, given our evolutionary path. But have you ever thought about how many words we use today were born in the ocean? I’m talking about words with nautical origins.

When you welcome someone “aboard” a project, when they are learning the “ropes”, when they get at the “helm” of a company (or a country, and are “overwhelmed”), in all instances you’re evoking a time gone by, when ships were essential.

You may be a landlubber, but fear not. We’ll show you the ropes with a week of words from nautical lingo, now used metaphorically. If you smell the salty air as you open your email, now you know where it’s coming from.

offing

PRONUNCIATION:
(AW-fing, AWF-ing)

MEANING:
Near future (used in the phrase “in the offing”).

ETYMOLOGY:
In nautical use, offing is the part of sea visible from the shore, but beyond anchoring ground. From off (away), from of. Earliest documented use: 1600.

USAGE:
“A Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing but the date will depend on the President.”
Zahrah Imtiaz; Cabinet Reshuffle in the Offing; Daily News (Colombo, Sri Lanka); Feb 4, 2017.

See more usage examples of offing in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe. -Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (27 Feb 1910-1993)

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