What is a Smack Owner?
9/26/2009
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Q. In London, England, what would a smack owner be? It's listed in the city directory.

A. Whenever an unusual phrase or word turns up, I visit my local library to use the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), second edition. Not only do I find the word I'm looking for, but also the history of its usage. In this case, according to the OED, "a smack is a single-masted sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged like a sloop or cutter" used for fishing. A smack owner was the owner of one of those vessels and suggests an occupation as a fisherman.

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