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Swabber

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Swabber (Naut) Formerly, an interior officer on board of British ships of war, whose business it was to see that the ship was kept clean.
    • Swabber One who swabs a floor or desk.
    • Swabber Same as Swobber, 2.
    • v. t Swabber To swab.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n swabber One who uses a swab; hence, in contempt, a fellow fit only to use a swab.
    • n swabber A bakers' implement for cleaning the oven. It consists of a bunch of netting on the end of a long pole, and is wetted for use.
    • n swabber plural Certain cards at whist the holder of which appears formerly to have been entitled to a part of the Stakes. According to Grose (Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785), they were the “ace of hearts, knave of clubs, ace and duce of trumps.”
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Swabber one who uses a swab: a baker's implement for cleaning ovens
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
D. zwabber,; cf.D. zwabberen, to swab, G. schwabbern, Dan. svabre, Sw. svab, a swab, svabla, to swab
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Dut. zwabber, a swabber, zwabberen, to swab; Ger. schwabber.

Usage

In literature:

He is the lying'st swabber!
"The Alchemist" by Ben Jonson
The swabber looked up quickly.
"West Wind Drift" by George Barr McCutcheon
In ten minutes the parade of deck-swabbers had passed, and Claudius also appeared on deck, looking haggard and pale.
"Doctor Claudius, A True Story" by F. Marion Crawford
The crew, or mariners, were divided into able seamen, ordinary seamen, grummets, or cabin-boys, ship-boys and swabbers.
"On the Spanish Main" by John Masefield
The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I, Tmp.
"The Facts About Shakespeare" by William Allan Nielson
Sweepers and swabbers cleaned down the decks twice in every 24 hours.
"The 28th: A Record of War Service in the Australian Imperial Force, 1915-19, Vol. I" by Herbert Brayley Collett
He was sometimes called ship's sweeper; more commonly captain of swabbers.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Two men would rush to the muzzle with the swabber, give it a few quick turns in the bore, then throw down the swabber and grab up the rammer.
"The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865" by Leander Stillwell
The gunners and swabbers were putting their cannon in fettle below decks.
"The Black Buccaneer" by Stephen W. Meader
Then, too, there were the purser, the quarter-masters, and the swabber.
"The Golden Galleon" by Robert Leighton
He was several paces behind the other swabbers all the time.
"The Battleship Boys at Sea" by Frank Gee Patchin
***

In poetry:

For a bite and a sup, and a bed of clean straw,
We'll tell you such marvels as man never saw,
On a Magical Island which no one did spy
Save this Master, that Swabber, yon Bo'sun, and I.
"The Coiner" by Rudyard Kipling
Against the Bermudas we foundered, whereby
This Master, that Swabber, yon Bo'sun, and I
(Our pinnace and crew being drowned in the main)
Must beg for our bread through old England again.
"The Coiner" by Rudyard Kipling