One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Chiefly poetic and literary. Nautical. Now archaic and rare.
Informal. A sailor, especially one in the Royal Navy.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Samuel Purchas (bap. 1577, d. 1626), geographical editor and compiler and Church of England clergyman. From Middle French, French nautique of or relating to sailors, of or relating to navigation, and its etymon classical Latin nauticus of or relating to ships, seafaring from ancient Greek ναυτικός of or belonging to ships, seafaring from ναύτης sailor + -ικός.
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