Fo’g’sle

“Shiver me timbers” (or “shiver me timbers” usin’ th’ possessive pronoun) be an exclamation in th’ form ‘o a mock oath usually attributed to th’ speech ‘o band ‘o pirates in works ‘o fiction. It be employed as a literary device by authors to express shock, surprise or annoyance. th’ phrase be based on real nautical slang ‘n be a reference to th’ timbers, which be th’ wooden support frames ‘o a sailin’ ship. In heavy seven seas, ships would be lifted up ‘n pounded below so harrrd as to “shiver” th’ timbers, startlin’ th’ sailors. Such an exclamation was meant to convey a feelin’ ‘o fear ‘n awe, similar to, “Well, blow me below!”, or, “May God strike me alive ‘n well”. Shiver be also reminiscent ‘o th’ splinterin’ ‘o a ship’s timbers in battle — splinter wounds were a common form ‘o battle injury on wooden ships (‘shiver’ means splinter in some English dialects). Can also be used as an expression ‘o bein’ “cold to th’ bone”.

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