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Billy Budd, Sailor
Herman Melville

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line-of-battle-ships Broadly, any rated ship of sufficient size to take part in the battle line during a major fleet action.

lintstocks/linstocks The short staffs for holding a matchrope by which the larger guns are fired.

Liverpool and Erie Canal These references perhaps incoporate portions of the Meville's own biography. In 1837, hoping to relieve some of his family's financial burdern, he had tried unsuccessfully to earn a position as an engineer for the Erie Canal Project. Later, in the summer of 1839, Melville had served aboard a merchant ship that sailed from New York to Liverpool.

lodgment 1. a. The act of lodging. b. The state of being lodged. 2. A place for lodging. 3. An accumulation or a deposit. 4. A foothold or beachhead gained by troops in enemy or neutral territory.

lower sails, upper sails The larger, lower sails provide the power for vessels. The smaller, upper or topsails are set above the course and are usually divided into two sails so that they may be set and taken in independently.


magnanimous 1. Courageously noble in mind and heart. 2. Generous in forgiving; eschewing resentment or revenge; unselfish.

mainmast, mainmastmen The central mast in a three-masted ship. The mainmastmen are those whose duties involve working with that mast.

mainsails The principal sail on a vessel. On a man-of-war, the mainsail is the lowest and largest sail on the mainmast.

malignity 1. a. Intense ill will or hatred; great malice. b. An act or a feeling of great malice. 2. The condition or quality of being highly dangerous or injurious; deadliness.

man of sorrows, a In Isaiah, the Lord's servant is "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (53:3).

man-of-war Any armed ship of a national navy, usually carrying between 20 and 120 guns.

marines, marine guard As distinguished from sailors, the marines were specialized soldiers who served aboard a man-of-war. During the time of the narrative, a large ship of line, like the seventy-four, often consisted of more than twenty percent marines, who served in gun crews, with boarding parties, and as sharpshooters or sentries.

marlinspike The marlinspike is a pointed tool used to part the strands of a rope in order to splice it.
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