Swinging the lead

What does "Swinging the lead" mean?

Today it means: Taking it easy, not really working hard

To find the depth of water under the ship, sailors would swing a lead weight attached to a uniformly knotted rope (marked in fathoms) over the side and feel when it touched the bottom. The wet knots showed the depth. This job was regarded as the easiest one on the ship

See also: A fathom  and: Fathom out  and: Deep six

By SailingQuiz November 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              

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What does Swinging the lead mean?

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