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Friday, January 19, 2007 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Why are boats and ships always referred to as "she"?

We always assumed desperate or delusional sailors started this tradition. After all, they're out to sea for months with nary a woman in sight. However, it turns out "ship as she" may have had more to do with linguistics than a longing for female companionship.

While we don't normally use kid's sites as sources (due mostly to pride), we found a shipshape explanation at BoatFriendlyKids.com. Many romance languages assign a gender to many words. In these languages, the word "ship" is always feminine.

A CNN article offers a few other theories, including that the ancient Greeks may have come up with the custom. Dr. Ronald Hope, a former director of the U.K.'s Maritime Society, seems to think so. But others think the tradition began when goddesses were carved on the bows.

Regardless of how the tradition came to be, the practice is apparently over now. The shipping industry newspaper, Lloyd's List, now officially refers to ships as "it." So much for the romance of the open sea.

Source: ask.yahoo.com

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