Dalit India A hindu outside the caste system. Also known as untouchables.
Darzi India Tailor. Also darzee or derzi
D.B.E. Abbreviation Dame Commander of the British Empire
Demurrage Naval Compensation paid to the owner of a vessel which has been delayed in port beyond the time agreed on.
Dependency Legal/Administrative A territory or a Crown Colony whose internal government and external affairs were controlled directly by the imperial government.
Derrick Naval A hangman named Derrick in the time of Queen Elizabeth I used to hang his `victims' from a spar fitted with a purchase and topping lift. This gave to the lifting appliance the name now generally used.
Devil Between the devil and the deep blue sea. A naval term. Common metaphorical expression meaning "in a quandary". In a wooden ship, the "devil" is the top plank or strake immediately below the sheer strake, and a person working over the ship's side below this plank was working in a very uncertain position.
Dghaisa Malta The harbour rowing boat peculiar to Malta; propelled by one or two men, of whom one always and both sometimes push the oars instead of pulling them. Pronounced "DI-SAR" or "DI-SO".
Dhaba India A roadside eating place.
Dharma India Religious duty.
Dhobey India Services' slang name for Laundry - both the firm who does the work and the materials which are washed; from Hindustani. A Dhobey Firm is a man (or men) who do other men's laundry for them. Also dhobie.
Dholli India Traditional gift to the landlord in addition to taxes and rent.
Dhooli India Litter for carrying wounded.
Dhoti India A loincloth worn by men.
Dhow Arabic A fast-sailing Arab ship with a lateen or 'fore and aft' sail on one or two masts.
Dicky Naval A naval; diminutive adjective; e.g., a "Dicky run ashore" is a short spell of shore leave, a "Dicky flannel" is the short flannel (or vest) worn by seamen with blue uniform in the summer.
Dido Naval Cutting a Dido. To do something out of the ordinary. From the name gained by H.M.S. DIDO, a particularly clean and smart ship serving on the Mediterranean Station about 1906, who, on certain occasions before coming to anchor steamed round the Fleet to show off her smart appearance.
Dinghy India A small boat; the name comes from the Bengali word for small boat carried in, or attached to, a larger vessel.
Dirk Naval The Midshipman's sword, just under 2 feet long, the dirk was officially introduced in 1833 for Volunteers; Midshipmen were not given dirks until 1856. They were slung from waist belts (which came in about 1825). Their disappearance from the Navy dates from 1939.
Ditty Box Naval The plain unstained wooden box (12" x 8" x 6"), part of every seaman's kit in the old days, in which he kept his personal possessions such as photographs, letters, curios, etc. Ditty boxes disappeared from the Navy when adequate kit lockers were provided in ships; prior to those days, a man's kit was permanently stowed in his kit bag, for the stowage of which back-racks were provided on the mess-decks. The word "ditty" may come from the Anglo-Saxon word "dite" meaning neat or tidy; or from the convenient size of the box for containing the ditties or pamphlets much published in the XVIII century; or because the boxes superseded bags made of "dittis", a form of cotton material. Certainly one reads of "ditty bags" in naval books of the 1700 period. Other suggested origins of the word are corruptionIs of "oddities" and "Commodity box".
Dogra India Mountaineer - usually a Rajput.
Dogsbody Naval Common slang name for someone of very little importance.
Duffadar India Native Cavalry Sergeant.
Duffadar Major India Native Cavalry Sergeant-Major.
Dunnage Naval Technically, packing material used to protect or wedge in cargo or stores; maritime slang for a person's clothes and/or baggage.
Durbar India A ceremonial court assembly full of pomp and circumstance.
Dustoori India Expression meaning "Nothing can be done about it".
Dyarchy Legal/Administrative Literally = dual rule. where the powers of government within a State are exercised by two distinct elements.