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Glossary

Before the mast

Literally, the area of a ship before the foremast (the forecastle). The term is most often used to describe men whose living quarters are located here, officers being quartered in the stern-most areas of the ship (near the quarterdeck). Officer-trainees lived between the two ends of the ship and become known as 'midshipmen'. Crew members who started out as seamen, then became midshipmen, and later, officers, were said to have gone from 'one end of the ship to the other'.

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