Word of the Day – Deep-six

Word of the Day : May 6, 2021




1 : to get rid of : discardeliminate

2 slang : to throw overboard

Did you know?

Before the introduction of shipboard sonar, water depth was measured by hand with a sounding line. This was generally a rope weighted at one end, with bits of leather called marks tied on at intervals to measure the fathoms. Between the marks, fathoms were estimated by deeps. The leadsman (pronounced LEDZ-mun) lowered the line into the water and called out the depth as the rope passed through his hands: “By the mark twain!” at two fathoms; “By the deep six!” at six fathoms. Perhaps due to an association with “six feet under” (dead and buried), to give something the deep six (or to deep-six it) was to throw it overboard, or, by extension, to discard it. In the mid-20th century, deep-six made landfall; since then it has been used as much by landlubbers as by old salts.


Citing budget concerns, the city council announced that it has deep-sixed plans to repave the city’s bike trails.

“The movement impressed the Clinton White House, which began drafting an executive order mandating plain language in government—until an administration attorney deep-sixed the idea because he did not find the mission suitably ‘magisterial.'” — Evan Halper, The Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2021