One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Shipbuilding and Boat-building. Any of the long narrow strips of timber, etc., fixed longitudinally to the ribs of a ship to keep them in position until the external planking or plating is added.
2Shipbuilding. A square timber fastened on the outer side of the launch cradle to prevent it from slipping outwards.
with object To secure (a frame, a boat, etc.) with ribbands.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in William Sutherland (fl. 1711–1717). From rib + band. Perhaps a folk-etymological alteration of ribbon, compare ribbon and the formal overlap with ribband riband, but it is perhaps more likely that ribbon shows influence from this word<br>early 19th century; earliest use found in Shipwright's Vade-mecum. From ribband.
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