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Re: [TowerTalk] root of guy wire?

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Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] root of guy wire?
From: Chris Pedder <>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 09:42:58 +0000
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Those seeking the meaning of the word 'guy' could do no better than to consult the mother of all dictionaries, THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, from which I have extracted the (relevant part of the) definition:

guy (___), n.1 Forms: 4_5 gye, 5, 9 Sc. gy, 6 Sc. guye, 7 guie, 7_ guy.

[a. OF. gui-s (obj. case guion), also guie = Pr., Sp., Pg. guia, It. guida (see guide n.); the two Rom. types *guido(n and *guida (etymologically fem., but masc. as a designation of men) are verbal ns. f. guidare: see guide v.]

_ 1. A guide; a conductor or leader. Obs. rare.
_1350 Will. Palerne 2727 þan hi_ed Þei hem to Þe hauen_as Þe werwolf hem wissed Þat was al here gye.
Ibid. 2849 þe herte & Þe hinde Þere Þanne hem hed sone, as Þe werwolf hem wissed Þat ay was here gye.
_1470 Henry Wallace ix. 684 Bath Forth and Tay thai left and passyt by On the north cost, [gud] Guthrie was thar gy.
1500_20 Dunbar Poems lxxxviii. 53 London_Thy famous Maire_is exampler, loode-ster, and guye.

2. a. Chiefly Naut. A rope used to guide and steady a thing which is being hoisted or lowered; also, a rope, chain, rod, etc. to secure or steady anything liable to shift its position or to be carried away, as the mast, funnel, etc. of a vessel, a derrick, a suspension-bridge, etc.
lazy guy, _a small tackle or rope to prevent the spanker-boom from swaying about in fine weather' (Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 1867). travelling guy (see quot. 1846).
1623 J. Taylor (Water P.) Praise Hemp-seed 10 Shrowds, ratlings, lanyards, tackles, lifts, and guies.
1626 Capt. Smith Accid. Yng. Sea-men 16 Sheeps feet is_a guie in staying the tackles when they are charged with goods.
1627 ---- Seaman's Gram. v. 20 A Guy_is a rope brought to it from the foremast, to keepe the weight vpon it steady.
1711 W. Sutherland Shipbuilder's Assist. 113 The Guy of the winding Tackle.
1755 Phil. Trans. XLIX. 352 His Majesty's ship the Gosport was_well-stay'd by guys and hawsers.
1816 Scott Antiq. viii, The experienced seaman had let down with the chair another line, which, being attached to it, and held by the persons beneath, might serve by way of gy.
1846 Young Naut. Dict. s.v., There are sometimes also guys attached to the jib-traveller, which get the name of travelling guys.
1863 Baring-Gould Iceland 105 Drive the [tent-] pegs home and stretch the guys.
1875 Bedford Sailor's Pocket Bk. v. (ed. 2) 173 A broken oar is driven into the sand, and supported by guys of spun yarn.
1882 Nares Seamanship (ed. 6) 207 If the wind is light, get a lazy guy on the spanker boom.
1897 Westm. Gaz. 24 Nov. 9/1 About six o'clock the funnel guy was carried away.

b. Naut. slang. Phrase to clap a guy on: to put a stop to; to _stow'.
1814 Sailors' Return ii. vi, I_request you will join us at dinner, if you'll only clap a guy on your low lingo.

3. attrib. and Comb. (in sense 2), as guy-chain, -crane, -line, -peg, -rope, -tackle; also
guy rein, a guiding or leading rein;
guy-rod, a rod used in place of a guy-rope.



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