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  • “Even more archaic is the maritime term “smoking lamp.”

    According to a Navy history Web site, this phrase dates to the 16th century, when a lamp was stoked near the ship’s galley to draw tobacco users away from where gunpowder was stored.

    The term has survived as a nautical figure of speech.

    “The smoking lamp is lit” designates those times and places for smoking; but when a skipper says, “The smoking lamp is out,” it means crush out your cigarettes now.”

    The New York Times, Navy Bans Tobacco Use on Its Submarine Fleet, by Thom Shanker, June 20, 2010

    June 21, 2010

  • Thanks, John! I'm adding both phrases to my "Three Sheets to the Wind" list. :-)

    June 23, 2010