Word and Phrase Origins

What is the origin of the phrase dire straits?

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2009-12-17 20:42:03
2009-12-17 20:42:03

The etyomology of the phrase "dire straits" is believed to have been started in the 15th century from the many straits around the world that sailors needed to navigate their vessels through. It took experience and a steady hand to make safe passage through the straits. Often the attempt would be difficult and perilous and could lead to a shipwreck. Eventually any difficult or perilous situation could be referred to as being in "dire straits".

-Mr. Mark Frees

professor of naval history

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