Etymology
Advertisement
Argo 
name of the ship in which Jason and his 54 heroic companions sought the Fleece in Colchis on the Euxine Sea, in Greek, literally "The Swift," from argos "swift" (adj.), an epithet, literally "shining, bright" (from PIE root *arg- "to shine; white"), "because all swift motion causes a kind of glancing or flickering light" [Liddell & Scott]. Related: Argean.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Lusitania 
Latin name of a region roughly corresponding to modern Portugal and part of Spain; in modern use, allusive or poetic for "Portugal." The Cunard ocean liner (sister ship of the Mauretania and Aquitania, also named after Roman Atlantic coastal provinces) was launched in 1906, torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-20 on May 7, 1915. Related: Lusitanian.
Related entries & more 
Paris 

capital of France, from Gallo-Latin Lutetia Parisorum (in Late Latin also Parisii), name of a fortified town of the Gaulish tribe of the Parisii, who had a capital there; literally "Parisian swamps" (see Lutetian).

The tribal name is of unknown origin, but it is traditionally derived from a Celtic par "boat" (perhaps related to Greek baris; see barge (n.)), hence the ship on the city's coat of arms.

Related entries & more 
Union Jack 
1670s, from union + jack (n.); properly a small British union flag flown as the jack of a ship, but it has long been in use as a general name for the union flag. The Union flag (1630s) was introduced to symbolize the union of the crowns of England and Scotland (in 1603) and was formed of a combination of the cross saltire of St. Andrew and the cross of St. George. The cross saltire of St. Patrick was added 1801 upon the union of parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.
Related entries & more 
dreadnought (n.)

literally (one who or that which) "fears nothing," from the verbal phrase (drede ich nawiht is attested from c. 1200); see dread (v.) + nought (n.). As a synonym for "battleship" (1916) it is from a specific ship's name. Dreadnought is mentioned as the name of a ship in the Royal Navy as early as c. 1596, but the modern generic sense is from the name of the first of a new class of British battleships, based on the "all big-gun" principle (armed with 10 big guns rather than 4 large guns and a battery of smaller ones), launched Feb. 18, 1906.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Polaris (n.)

1769, short for stella polaris, Modern Latin, literally "the pole star" (see polar). The ancient Greeks called it Phoenice, "the Phoenician (star)," because the Phoenicians used it for navigation. Due to precession of the equinoxes the pole was a few degrees off (closer to Beta Ursae Minoris), but evidently Polaris was close enough. Also see pole (n.2). The Old English word for it was Scip-steorra "ship-star," also reflecting its importance in navigation. As the name of a U.S. Navy long-range submarine-launched guided nuclear missile, it dates from 1957.

Related entries & more 
Plimsoll (n.)

"mark on the hull of a British ship showing how deeply she may be loaded," 1876 (Plimsoll's mark), from Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898), M.P. for Derby and advocate of shipping reforms (which were embodied in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 and required the load-line mark).

The sense was extended by 1907 to rubber-soled canvas shoe (equivalent of American English sneakers) because the band around the shoes that holds the two parts together reminded people of a ship's Plimsoll line; this sense perhaps also was reinforced by sound association with sole (n.1), which sometimes influenced the spelling to plimsole. The surname is of Huguenot origin.

Related entries & more 
Conestoga 

1690s, name of an Indian tribe in south-central Pennsylvania, probably from some Iroquoian language and sometimes said to mean "people of the cabin pole;" later a place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

A characteristic type of covered wagon built there is called Conestoga wagon by 1750 (about three years before the last of the Conestoga Indians were massacred), but it already was an established term, as the first reference is to the name of a Philadelphia tavern, and probably originally it meant the type of wagon farmers used on the road from the city to Conestoga. It seems to have become a popular term in the 1830s to describe the "land ship" used by U.S. pioneers headed west. Also a breed of horses (1824) and a type of boot and cigar (see stogie).

Related entries & more