from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In marine law, the act of borrowing money and pledging the bottom of a ship, that is, the ship itself, as security for its repayment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mar. Law) A contract in the nature of a mortgage, by which the owner of a ship, or the master as his agent, hypothecates and binds the ship (and sometimes the accruing freight) as security for the repayment of money advanced or lent for the use of the ship, if she terminates her voyage successfully. If the ship is lost by perils of the sea, the lender loses the money; but if the ship arrives safe, he is to receive the money lent, with the interest or premium stipulated, although it may, and usually does, exceed the legal rate of interest. See hypothecation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical An early form of maritime contract in which owner of a ship could borrow money using the ship as collateral.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Yesterday's term was bottomry, which is defined as:

    Define That Term #9

  • But for a sound investment31 I know of nothing comparable with the initial outlay to form this fund. 32 Any one whose contribution amounts to ten minae33 may look forward to a return as high as he would get on bottomry, of nearly one-fifth,34 as the recipient of three obols a day.

    Ways and Means

  • The contract is generally called a "bottomry bond."

    Define That Term #9

  • In a few days, our adventurer recovered his vigour, complexion, and vivacity; he mingled again in the diversions and parties of the place; and he received, in a little time, the money he had lent upon bottomry, which, together with the interest, amounted to upwards of eleven hundred pounds.

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

  • And as he every day received proposals from those brokers whom he had employed, about the disposal of his cash, he at length ventured fifteen hundred pounds upon bottomry, being tempted by the excessive premium.

    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle

  • We should also refer to the contract of bottomry, which consisted of a loan made to the owner -- or in some cases the master -- of a ship, on the security of the ship, to be repaid with interest upon the safe conclusion of a voyage.

    An Essay on Mediaeval Economic Teaching

  • And he showed lent out on bottomry seven talents and forty minae, and two thousand (drachmae) invested in the Chersonesus.

    The Orations of Lysias

  • And when he died in Ephesus, Diogeiton concealed his death from his daughter, and took the documents which he had left sealed, claiming that he must collect by these papers the money lent out on bottomry.

    The Orations of Lysias

  • A vessel arriving in a foreign port may require repairs and supplies before she can proceed farther on her voyage, and in occasions of this kind a bottomry bond is given.

    Up To Date Business Home Study Circle Library Series (Volume II.)

  • He succeeded to the old lawful thrones, and did not care to adventure bottomry with a Sir Edward

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 72, October, 1863


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  • In maritime law, a contract whereby a ship and its cargo are used as security for a loan to finance a voyage. Under this sort of contract, perhaps inevitably also known as "bummery," the loan is repaid if the ship arrives safely, but if it sinks, the lender loses his money.

    October 3, 2007

  • "... a contract for borrowing money upon the keel or bottom of a ship; that is to say, the master of a ship binds the ship herself, that if the money be not paid at the time appointed, the creditors shall have the ship.

    "Bottomry is also lending money to a merchant or adventurer who wants it in traffic, and the lender is to be paid a much greater sum at the return of the ship, standing to the hazard of the voyage: on which account, though the interest be greater than what the law commonly allows, yet it is not usury, because the money being furnished at the lender's risk, if the ship perishes, he shares in the loss."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 53

    October 13, 2008

  • Not as dirty as it sounds.

    December 15, 2008

  • I gave up my post in the buttery,
    Learned buttocker's not the job for me,
    But how find a fashion
    To service my passion?
    Perhaps I will prosper in bottomry!

    October 8, 2014