Monday, June 1, 2009

Ralph Keyes Retroterm of the Day: Loose canon

Early warship cannons were mounted on wheels so they could be rolled into place for loading and firing. Those not then lashed securely to the deck were liable to careen about uncontrollably, especially in rough seas. During this extremely dangerous event sailors could be crushed by that unpredictably rolling piece of iron. This is why we call unpredictable human beings “loose cannons.”

Reposted with permission:

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