Nautical Term/Phrase Wednesday: Deep Six

Meaning: to trash or rid of something

Deep six refers to to six fathoms, or with a fathom being six feet, 36 feet.  The origins of the phrase are obscure at best.  It is currently thought that 36 feet was the rule of thumb needed for burial at sea to prevent a body from washing ashore.  Of course, modern sea burials usually require a 100 ft minimum.  The earliest documented usage in 1929 uses deep six as slang for grave.

3 Replies to “Nautical Term/Phrase Wednesday: Deep Six”

  1. Reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Waits lyrics…

    “Ahe shroud-tailor measures him for a deep-six holiday. The stiff is froze, the case is closed on the one that got away.”

    (“The One That Got Away” from Small Change)

    PS, I love Nautical Term Wednesday!

  2. Could it have something to do with “six feet under”? Six feet on land, six fathoms at sea (the latter being the “deep” six)?

    Pure speculation on my part, mind you. :-P

  3. I thought it originated in the mid 80s when my brother used to invite us to “Deep Six My Balls”… is that not the case?

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