The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148935   Message #3462963
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
07-Jan-13 - 10:00 PM
Thread Name: What does 'Roll and GO' mean?
Subject: RE: What does 'Roll and GO' mean?
Not a "nautical term" per se. Not really a specific term, either, I don't think. Just a phrase that got worked into some chanties -- mainly "Sally Brown" and its relatives; doesn't appear much outside of that.

Taken individually, "roll" is to go or move in some fashion, intransitive or transitive. One could argue that it's nautical, but I don't see as it has to be. "Roll" and "go" put together doesn't seem to be anything else but the two verbs put together, in a song.

If it's in reference to or inspired by a specific task, it may be relevant that "Sally Brown" was mainly a windlass chanty, to begin with at least.

Arguably earlier was the phrase "heave and go" — a shout of encouragement to make the work go. "Roll" in the transitive sense of "move" is much like "heave" make go... make it go and away it goes!