Friday, 3 April 2009

Batten down

Battens are laths i. e. long and (relatively) thin strips of wood.

"Battening down" was the technical term for closing a ship's hold, usually a square hole in the deck of a ship, by building a strong temporary lid of wood (solid baulks of 2x4) with a waterproof canvas cover over all.

from alt.usage.english

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