This week’s word is baggywrinkle which I found on the forums of my favourite writing site – Critique Circle. I loved the word on sight. Unfortunately I was unable to locate any origins or even date of first use for this term, but I like it even more now that I know it’s a nautical term and hence legitimate research for my coastal novels series (a.k.a. I had an excuse to browse sailing Web sites).
A baggywrinkle is a soft cover placed over a rope on a sailing vessel to stop the sails being chafed or damaged. You can see a picture here. I love the fact that the baggywrinkle is a seaman’s improvisation because they use old frayed ropes to protect the new ones. Very clever.
If you’re a boat owner and want to make one – there’s a great step-by-step with photos here.
Now if you’re strolling around a harbour or marina and spot a shaggy rope cushion strapped to some rigging, you can point knowledgeably and say – “See that? That’s a baggywrinkle” and wait for your companion to burst out laughing.
Until next time, happy reading, writing, and wordfooling by the sea,