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An old maritime word meaning ‘immediately’, as ‘let go amain’, let go the anchor at once. Another naval expression of the 15th and 16th centuries was ‘waving amain’, which was a direction by a warship to a merchant vessel to give the time-honoured salute at sea. The actual waving was done with swords or pikes to indicate the warlike nature of the ship demanding the salute. In the same context, the merchant ship would ‘strike amain’, i.e. let fall her topsails immediately.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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