The devil to pay

What does "The devil to pay" mean?

Today it means: Serious trouble ahead.

The "devil" is the longest seam (joint) on the outside beam of a boat and needed repacking with oakum and pitch to stop it leaking. It was also the hardest to do. "Pay" comes from the French piox and mean pitch. Sailors would use the term to describe their mis-fortune of having to carry out this task. He would have the devil to pay!

See also: Between the devil and the deep blue sea   

By SailingQuiz November 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              



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There are 423 other nautical phrases, sayings and sailing terms listed on this website today. "The devil to pay" is just one of them. Many have been around for years and have entered our everyday use; but do you know what they mean and where they came from? This is where you find out.

Nautical sayings and phrases

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