The anchor hung on the cathead, a piece of timber outside the ship to which the anchor is hung to keep it clear of the ship.
“The decks were all life and commotion; the sailors on the forecastle singing, `Ho! cheerly. men' as they catted the anchor.” —H. Melville:
Omoo, xxxvi. p. 191.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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