Full to the gunwales

What does "Full to the gunwales" mean?

Today it means: Full up, no more room, packed tight.

The gunwales (pronounced "gunnels") is the upper edge of the ships sides; on a modern yacht could also be known as the toe-rail. It probably comes from a man-o-war "gun walls" where the cannon stick out from the side of the ship. Wherever it is on a ship, it means its full up and cannot take any more.

   

By SailingQuiz September 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              



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