meaning larboard or left side, is an abbreviation of porta
il timone (carry the helm). Porting arms is carrying them on the
“To heel to port” is to lean on the leftside (Saxon, hyldan, to incline). “To lurch to port” is to leap or roll over on the left
side (Welsh, llercian).
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head-foremost, sunk in short.
Byron: Don Juan.
Port. An air of music; martial music. Hence Tytler says, “I have
never been able to meet with any of the ports here referred to” (Dissertation on Scotch Music). The word is Gaelic.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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