in sailor language has no reference to age, but only to
experience in seamanship. A boy may be fifty or any other age. A crew
is divided into able seamen, ordinary seamen, and boys or greenhorns. A
“boy” is not required to know anything about the practical working of
the vessel, but an “able seaman” must know all his duties and be able
to perform them.
“A boy does not ship to know anything.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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