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Why are Boats Named after Females and Referred to as "She"?

Why are Boats and Ships given Female Names? Why Boats are considered as Females and referred to them as "she"?

1 Answer

Nobody can accurately explain as to why boats are considered as females in the English vocabulary. Most explanations sound like myths so they are not reliable at all. Nevertheless, the fact remains that these sea vehicles are the only non living objects which have a corresponding pronoun like that of humans. Cars and countries may have the same privilege but people definitely got the idea to call them that way from boats.

Boat Theories

1.) Boats are considered as females maybe because they have the names of women written on them in the first place. Sea captains in the past may have been fond of naming their vehicles after their moms, wives or even after the goddesses that they worship. Ironically, even when ships used to have sculptures of women placed in their decks, actual females were not welcomed in these vehicles for they were believed to possess bad omen.

2.) English not the only language in the Indo-European region that contains grammatical gender which serves as another theory as to why boats are considered as females. The English vocabulary that is being used by the current generation may not be a huge fan of grammatical gender but it can’t be denied that even shields were considered as females in most Old English books.

Indo-European languages of today came from the proto-Indo-European language which has both the inanimate and animate genders. The neuter, feminine and masculine gender originated from the inanimate type of gender. Over the years, the grammatical gender in these languages changed which resulted to a variety of Indo-European languages that are being used nowadays.

It doesn’t matter what boat theory you prefer to believe in. Considering boats as females still maintains the interest of most historians in the English vocabulary of today. Other people may currently be proposing that boats should be called as an “it” but unless their proposals get approved, we just have to continue calling our boats she.

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