dead marine

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An empty wine bottle after its contents have been drunk. The aphorism is supposed to have been first employed by the Duke of Clarence, the future King William IV, when, at a dinner on board one of his ships, he ordered the steward to remove the ‘dead marine’. When a marine officer present objected to this remark, the duke replied that he had used the expression in the sense that, like the marines, it had done its duty nobly and was ready to do it again.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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