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bilge


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1 That part of the floors of a ship on either side of the keel which approaches nearer to a horizontal than a vertical direction. It is where the floors and the second futtocks unite, and upon which the ship would rest when it took the ground. Hence, when a ship was holed in this part it was said to be bilged. Being the lowest part of the ship inside the hull, it is naturally where any internal water, known as bilge water, collects and where the suction of the bilge pump is placed to clear it. These spaces on either side of the keel are collectively known as the bilges.

2 The largest circumference of a cask in the vicinity of its bung.

3 In naval parlance, the word used to describe an untrue, or nonsensical, statement.

Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.


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