Trend Watch

Trend Watch: 'Admiral's Mast' & A Mystery At Sea

A massive search ends with an 'admiral's mast'.

Admiral’s mast was among our top lookups on July 19th, 2017, following news reports of a Navy sailor who was discovered to be hiding on his ship, rather than fallen overboard, as had been feared.

Mims admitted last week during an admiral’s mast that his disappearance was “intentional, and that he took steps to try to avoid being found by the other Shiloh sailors who were actively trying to locate him,” during an admiral’s mast, Lt. Paul Newell, spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet, told Navy Times.
—Theresa Seiger, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (, 18 Jul 2017

An admiral’s mast is defined as “a disciplinary proceeding at which an admiral in the U.S. Navy hears and disposes of cases against warrant officers and commissioned officers charged with an offense.” The term is believed to have come from the fact that the mainmast of a ship was often a place where members of the crew would congregate for discussion. Thus, the use of mast in relation to disciplinary hearings is restricted to being modified by admiral; there are, we regret to inform you, no baker’s masts, senator’s masts, or teacher’s masts. The word seems to be a recent addition to our language, with what is currently the earliest known written use coming in the late 20th century.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Billy Jack Tibbett (L) received a verbal reprimand during an admiral’s mast and Chief Petty Officer William Wellington (R) has been transferred from Travis Air Force base near San Francisco.
Afro-American (Baltimore, MD), 25 Oct. 1980

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!