Question: What is the seafaring origin of the nautical term “son of a gun”?
Thanks for your answers. It is difficult to know the exact origin of some of the old nautical expressions and like many others, there are often several explanations. This is one of them.
The description we have is “Aboard merchant vessels, it was not uncommon for prostitutes to be kept aboard ship. In the event that one of these women of ill repute became pregnant and carried to term while aboard, the most convenient place to deliver the child was often between two of the ship’s guns, which the lady would lean on for support during the delivery. Upon delivery, the child’s name along with the name of the father and mother would be recorded in the ship’s log. If no paternity could be established, the child would be entered as “son of a gun”.
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