fok, giek, kok

If you ever read anything about ships in Russian, you may have guessed that a lot of maritime words you came across are not Russian. In fact, most of them are Dutch. As I don’t know the real reason for that, I explain this aberration by Peter the Great’s shipbuilding stint in Holland.

English Dutch Russian
beam reach halve wind галфвинд
boom giek гик
bowsprit boegspriet бушприт
broad reach ruime wind, bakstagwind бакштаг
cabin kajuit каюта
cable length kabeltouw кабельтов
caboose kombuis камбуз
close reach aan de wind, bij de wind бейдевинд
cook kok кок
downwind / before the wind voor de wind фордевинд
forecastle bak бак
gaff rig gaffel гафель
harbor haven гавань
hold ruim трюм
jib fok фок
mainsail grootzeil грот
mast mast мачта
pennant wimpel вымпел
sheet schoot шкот
shroud want ванты
spanker bezaan бизань
yard ra рей, рея

Of course not all Russian nautical terms are of Dutch origin. There are plenty of English words and phrases too. Famously, “ring the bell”, via folk etymology, became рынду бей (“beat the rynda”), swapping the meanings of the noun and the verb of the English phrase and giving a novel meaning (that of ship’s bell) to the old Russian word рында.

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