See also: copperbottomed

English edit

 
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The copper-bottomed hull of the Cutty Sark.

Etymology edit

From the copper sheathing applied to the bottom of a wooden ship to prevent damage from marine organisms. In literal sense 18th century, in figurative sense attested since at least 1807.[1] The British idiomatic use comes from the fact that with Britain being a major naval power, there was always a ready market for copper in ship construction, making it a reliable commodity to invest in.

Pronunciation edit

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Adjective edit

copper-bottomed (comparative more copper-bottomed, superlative most copper-bottomed)

  1. (literal, especially of a ship or cookware) Having lower parts made of or covered by copper.
    • 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 88:
      According to Robert Hulse, 'It's half worm, half mollusc, and there are more dead men at the bottom of the sea as a result of those things [shipworms] than all the naval battles put together. They're the reason you had copper-bottomed ships'.
  2. (UK, idiomatic) Thoroughly reliable; secure.

Usage notes edit

Related term copperfasten used with similar meaning, but different nuance – copper-bottomed means “reliable, trustworthy”, while copper-fastened means “secured, unambiguous”.[1]

Related terms edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gary Martin (1997–) “Copper-bottomed”, in The Phrase Finder, retrieved 26 February 2017.