The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

oily sea Options
vkhu
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 12:45:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 574
Neurons: 3,867
Quote:
I crouched in the bottom of the dingey, stunned, and staring blankly at the vacant, oily sea.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau


The book is set in late 1800s, when boats still used sails. How could there be any oil on the sea surface?
mactoria
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 2:14:04 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/13/2014
Posts: 426
Neurons: 776,239
Location: Stockton, California, United States
vkhu wrote:
Quote:
I crouched in the bottom of the dingey, stunned, and staring blankly at the vacant, oily sea.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau


The book is set in late 1800s, when boats still used sails. How could there be any oil on the sea surface?



Vkhu: You're correct that there would not likely be any actual oil on the surface of the sea (though in the 1800s grease or oil could have been used to lubricate joints in various parts of boats or could have been thrown overboard after being used for cooking). In this quote the term "oily sea" is more than likely meant to convey the sense of the surface of the water being quite smooth, shining as though oil was sitting on top of the water. It's used as a descriptive term, to get the reader to envision the water surface as being very shiny, smooth, reflective.
OnTheVerge
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 4:06:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/7/2014
Posts: 211
Neurons: 321,938
Location: San Francisco, California, United States




I agree with 'mac', the word oily here is used as a synonym for 'smooth', 'polished', 'bright', 'shining'.





Too often... we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
Romany
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 5:28:02 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 12,030
Neurons: 36,520
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I think I would qualify it just a little further: - an oily sea is not a good omen.

Yes, it's smooth and seamless - but it usually occurs with swells. In the Pacific, at least, that oily swell is usually a presager of monsoon, tropical storms etc.

(We had a new poster who is obviously a sailing man help us out on another thread about seas and boats etc. Perhaps he'll come back and comment, too?)
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2017 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.