• Davy Jones's Locker
  • audio pronunciation
  • \day-vee-johnz-LAH-ker\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: the bottom of the ocean
  • EXAMPLES

"We asked where the rest of the ship's company were; a gruff old fellow made answer, 'One boat's crew of 'em is gone to Davy Jones's locker: —went off after a whale, last cruise, and never come back agin.…'" — Herman Melville, Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas, 1847

"They were storm driven throughout a long night and slammed into the cliffs of Guana Island 20 miles to the Southwest: a close call with Davy Jones' locker." — Jonathan Russo, Shelter Island Reporter (New York), June 23, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Was there a real Davy Jones? Folks have been pondering that question for centuries. Sailors have long used "Davy Jones" as the name of a personified evil spirit of the ocean depths, but no one knows exactly why. Some claim the original Davy Jones was a British pirate, but evidence of such a pirate is lacking. Others swear he was a London pub owner who kept drugged ale in a special locker, served it to the unwary, and then had them shanghaied. But the theory considered most plausible is that "Davy" was inspired by St. David, the patron saint of Wales. (St. David was often invoked by Welsh sailors.) "Jones" is traced to Jonah, the biblical figure who was swallowed by a great fish.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "aperçu," our Word of the Day from August 14? The answer is …

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