Why Is the Bottom of the Sea Known as “Davy Jones’s locker” and Where Did the Expression Come From?

“Davy Jones” seems like such a nice normal name, but this mythical creature struck terror into the hearts of ancient mariners.

Going to his locker meant you were a man overboard and destined to die because the locker was at the bottom of the sea where biblical images of Jonah and the whale came into play.

Davy Jones presided over all evil spirits in the sea and could shape-shift into hideous forms, often perching on the riggings during hurricanes or shipwrecks.

Davy Jones first appeared in literature in 1751 in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by British novelist Tobias Smollett.

There is a colorful legend that Davy Jones was a pub owner who would get young men drunk and then confine them in a “locker” where he stored his beer until he could sell them to a ship short of hands.

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.

Leave a Comment