Hand over Hand

To go or to come up hand over hand, is to travel with great rapidity, as climbing a rope or a ladder, or as one vessel overtakes another. Sailors in hauling a rope put one hand over the other alternately as fast as they can. In French, “Main sur main. ”'

“Commandment fait aux matelots qul halent sur une manoeuvre pour qu'ils passent alternativement une main sur l'autre sans interruption, et pour que le travil se fasse plus promptement.” —Royal Dictionnaire.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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