from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. On a man-of-war, a member of a gun's crew detailed to fetch powder for the gun.
  • n. A man in charge of explosives in an operation of any nature requiring their use.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "They stood or knelt in their set positions—the powder-man with his cartridge-box directly behind his gun far to larboard; the gun-heavers right against the ship's side with handspike or crowbar away from it..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Truelove, 218

    March 11, 2008