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A slang name given to an old sailor during the days of sail; in theory one who has been at sea for so long there has been time for barnacles to grow on his back. It was originally employed in a slightly derogatory sense to indicate an old seaman who was old-fashioned and had failed to move with the times. But it later became almost a term of affection as indicating an old seaman whose knowledge of seamanship was vast and who had much to teach the youngster in his profession.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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