General Question

issinoho's avatar

why are boats and ships always referred to as 'she'

Asked by issinoho (85points) March 10th, 2008 from iPhone

why no male boats?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

sfgirl's avatar

Stolen from

Although women were considered to bring bad luck at sea, mariners always use the pronoun “she” when referring to their ships. Whether its proper name is masculine, or whether it is a man o’war, a battleship, or a nuclear submarine, a ship is always referred to as “she.”

This old tradition is thought to stem from the fact that in the Romance languages, the word for “ship” is always in the feminine. For this reason, Mediterranean sailors always referred to their ship as “she”, and the practice was adopted over the centuries by their English-speaking counterparts.

One source suggests that a ship “was nearer and dearer to the sailor than anyone except his mother.” What better reason to call his ship “she”?

Spargett's avatar

I could imagine having something you hold in a motherly regard would be a comforting feeling for all the incredibly dangerous trials mariners used to (and still) face at sea.

jz1220's avatar

To add to sfgirl’s answer, the word for any type of transportation in Romance languages, be it a car, plane, or ship, is always feminine.

beenzy7's avatar

men mostly own the boats

GD_Kimble's avatar

As a side note, apparently in Russian tradition, boats are referred to as “he”, and during the cold war, Soviet spies were taught to be very careful about that and had to learn to call them “she”.

Mtl_zack's avatar

i think because countries were referred to as a female, a boat was the property of the country, and represents that country with pride. if you were to step on a chinese boat in the exploration age, you would be in china.

Poser's avatar

Maybe the same reason Marines give their rifles female names? That’s the only woman sailors have on a long sea voyage.

Consequently, I was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier with a masculine name. We just called the thing “That P.O.S.”

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther