Language: jargon: sailing
- To tie off or affix. She belayed the anchor cable to the bitts.
- To stop or cancel. He belayed dinner to catch the favourable tide.
- To order stopped or canceled, especially imp. Belay your gammoning!
Whenever a line is made fast to a cleat or pin, it is said to have been belayed. Belay once meant to stop, and a rope under tension will tend to move unless stopped, such as jammed in a cleat or fixed with a clove hitch.
The sailor's polyglot was necessary for crew of many language backgrounds to work together on a ship, but it also replaced many more common terms with sailing jargon which might be more readily understood. A Russian-speaking sailor might not understand his shore-leave was canceled, but having his shore-leave belayed was immediately understood as bad news!
Similarly, any action under way could be quickly interrupted by a peremptory "Belay that!"
- Edwards, Fred; Sailing as a Second Language; International Marine Publishing Company; © 1988 Highmark Publishing Ltd.; ISBN 0-87742-965-0