Where does the term “jolly boat” come from and What does jolly boat mean in Danish?

Chances are that the members of the crew handling a “jolly boat” rarely were, if ever, rollicking or gayhearted.

It is, or was, a work-boat, one used formerly around sailing vessels, chiefly in harbors, in carrying out errands in small duties about the ship.

It was, in fact, a yawl of small size, the source of the name being the Danish jolle, “yawl.”

Another of the numerous instances of English mispronunciation of alien words.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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