Sadhu India A Hindu holy man. His forehead is marked with the sign of Shiva.
Sahib India Officer or leader. Roughly translated as meaning a knight.
Saltash Luck Naval Old maritime expression meaning No success at all. It is said to be derived from the many anglers who sat on the bridge at Saltash for hours and caught nothing but colds.
Saltpetre Latin Pottasium Nitrate; a key ingredient of gunpowder.
Sanyasi India A Hindu who had renounced everyday life to follow a religious vocation
Sari India Native woman's skirt.
Satyagraha India The force of truth, meaning non-violent resistance.
Scandiwegian Naval The general maritime slang name for a man or ship from Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Sometimes "Scowegian" or "Scandihoovian".
Schooner Naval (1) A sailing vessel normally with two masts, but there have been schooners with up to five masts; it is fore-and-aft rigged on all masts. A Topsail Schooner has a square topsail on the foremast. Of the origin of the name, the old story says that when the first vessel of this type was launched (at Gloucester, Mass., USA, in about 1713) a bystander who was impressed by the way the ship rode the water exclaimed "Oh how she scoons!", to which the builder (Andrew Robinson) replied "A scooner let her be".
Scuppered Naval Naval slang for Killed. In the days of sail, if a man on deck was washed into the lee scuppers by a heavy sea he was almost certain to sustain at least serious injury.
Seer India A measure of about 2Ib.
Sepoy India Native Infantry Private Soldier.
Serai India A fortified or walled village.
Shaitan India Satan.
Shamshir India Light, curved sword favoured by cavalry, officers and nobles.
Sharia India/Middle East/North Africa Islamic law
Sherbauchs India Swivel guns.
Shipshape Naval All shipshape and Bristol fashion: This expression may well have had its origin in the XVIII century when Bristol was the second most important commercial port in the United Kingdom. In those days (Bristol's docks were not constructed till 1804), the high range of tides experienced at Bristol necessitated ships berthed alongside there being left high and dry at the fall of the tide and so ships regularly trading to Bristol had to be of specially stout construction and the crew had to tie everything securely.
Sherwani India A long, formal coat.
Silk Naval The sailor's black silk "handkerchief" worn round the throat, is of far great antiquity than as a sign of mourning for Lord Nelson. Originally it was worn in action either round the brow to prevent sweat running into the eyes, or as a general purpose sweat rage, or as a pad to cushion the body against hard knocks or chafe. Commonly known as a "Silk", it was a square of black silk 36" square, worn with two diagonally opposite corners knotted together (the knot being worn at the back of the neck beneath the collar, and bight (known as a "Duff Bag") being secured in the tapes of the jumper), so that a drowning man's rescuer would have an efficient handgrip.
Silladar India Method of raising irregular troops.' The soldiers are paid better but have to provide and maintain their own kit.
Sirdar India Headman, Officer in Charge. Also Sirkar.
Sipah Sirdar India Lord of Troops, General.
Skipper Naval This word comes from the Dutch Schipper, meaning "Captain". It is used occasionally, as slang, in the Navy referring to the Commanding Officer; in the Royal Navy Reserve it is a title of rank.
Skylark Naval The official naval word, verb and noun, for Frolic, Playing about, Ballyragging. In sailing ship days the order "Hands to dance and skylark" was sometimes given; this was probably as a form of physical training, to liven the crew up after a period of dullness, the 'skylarking' perhaps referring to races run in the rigging. Probably the only occasion when this order is to be hear in modern times is before a dance on board when the french chalk on the "ball room" deck needs to be rubbed in.
Sloop Naval Steam vessel - the forerunner, in the 1920's, of Frigates and Corvettes.
Soojee India A meal of porridge.
Snake Pit Naval Formal naval officers' slang name for the ladies' lounge of the Union Club, Valletta, Malta = a favourite haunt of the Fishing Fleet.
Son of a Gun Naval Although frequently used as meaning a "good fellow", this is really an old naval expression casting aspersions on a man's parentage. In the days when women were allowed on board during a ship's stay in port, the gun decks were often the scenes of debauchery; and if a male child was born he was called a Son of a Gun.
Sowar India Native Cavalry Trooper.
Subedar India Native Infantry Captain.
Subedar Major India Senior Native Infantry Captain.
Suddeer Bazaar India Headman of the Bazaar.
Suzerainty Administrative Sovereignty or paramount authority over another State or territory.
Spitcher Naval Naval slang work meaning "Finish" - used as either a verb or a noun. From the Maltese word of that meaning.
Sudra India The fourth or Serf Caste.' These people worked the land for those of higher caste.
Suttee India Ceremonial widow burning.
Swadeshi IndiaA term used in India to refer to indigenously made materials. The term was made important when boycotting British made products.