One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adjective & adverbNautical
1predicative On the side of a ship that is sheltered from the wind.
- ‘Winds were gusty which is why I stopped on the alee side of this low tide peninsula.’
- 1.1 (of the helm) moved around to leeward in order to tack a vessel or to bring its bows up into the wind.
- ‘They sailed out to sea and brought the ship about alee of Leptis Major and entered the harbour from the East.’
- ‘He barked the traditional, ‘Ready about,’ threw the helm over, and then added, ‘Hard alee!’’
- ‘‘Ready,’ returned Howard, and the moment he heard the response of ‘Hard alee,’ he let go the mainsheet - then reached over and released the halyard for the mainsail - which lowered the boom.’
- ‘The helm of a ship is alee when pressed close to the lee side.’
- ‘If you intend to have crew with you, don't forget to prepare them by saying: "Ready about" and "Helms alee."’
Late Middle English: from a- ‘on’ + lee.
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