(2 syl.). Empty bottles. The marines were at one time looked
down upon by the regular seamen, who considered them useless, like
empty bottles. A marine officer was once dining at a mess-table, when
the Duke of York said to the man in waiting, “Here, take away these
marines.” The officer demanded an explanation, when the duke replied,
“They have done their duty, and are prepared to do it again.”
Tell that to the marines.
Tell that to greenhorns, and not to men who know better. Marines
are supposed by sailors to be so green that they will swallow the most
“Tell that to the marines, the sailors won't believe it.” —Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xiii.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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