double clews

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An old sea term used by seamen when one of them got married. Clews, with their nettles, were the cords which supported a seaman's hammock. A double set of clews, in seamen's humour, were required to support a seaman's wife as well as himself. Double clews were also supposed to give a wider spread to a hammock, and the extra width thus obtained may also have had something to do with the origin of the term.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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