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Boy

in sailor language has no reference to age, but only to experience in seamanship. A boy may be fifty or any other age. A crew is divided into able seamen, ordinary seamen, and boys or greenhorns. A “boy” is not required to know anything about the practical working of the vessel, but an “able seaman” must know all his duties and be able to perform them.

“A boy does not ship to know anything.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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