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!
By SailingQuiz November 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does The devil to pay mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "The devil to pay"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "The devil to pay".