What is the origin of the name
"Davy Jones"

We knew that sailors used the phrase to refer to the bottom of the ocean, but we had no clue as to its origin. After some research, we discovered several possibilities:

Michael Quinion's excellent World Wide Words site offers a great quote from Tobias Smollet's The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751): "This same Davy Jones, according to the mythology of sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep...."

One story suggests that a particularly fiendish pub owner named David Jones used to incapacitate hapless drinkers in his ale locker, and send them off aboard ships. Sounds like a handy way of disposing of your enemies.

Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable offers an interesting linguistic take on the issue: Davy is a bastardization of Duffy, the West Indian term for ghost. Jones comes from Jonah, the prophet who spent a few uncomfortable days lodged in the tract of a whale. And a locker, loosely defined, is a place to store valuable things. So the phrase "He's gone to Davy Jones' locker" (i.e., he cashed it in) loosely translates as "He's safe with Duffy Jonah now."

A random Navy Trivia page we stumbled across has some entertaining guesses: Duffer Jones was a notoriously myopic sailor who often found himself overboard. Davy could also come from the horned one himself, the Devil. The shortest sailor on board usually impersonates him during the Crossing of the Line, a bizarre naval cross-dressing ceremony. The less said, the better.

Today the term is generally associated with 'the floor of the sea' (or the seabed) - so when the Vancouver Courier reported 'Jet headed for Davy Jones Locker' in August 2004 it was talking about a project to create an artificial reef by using an old Boeing 737, for divers to explore.

The name became popular again in the summer of 2006 with the launch of the film 'Pirates of the Carribean 2' which featured Bill Nighy in the role of 'Davy Jones' and portrayed him as a fiend who ruled a ghost ship which sailed below the ocean. With the launch of the film our website traffic grew so fast we had to buy more bandwidth as hundreds of Americans searched the web to find out more about Davy Jones!

There are also several variants on the name, such as Davey, Davie and David; Jonnes, Johannes and Joans

And finally, we were happy to read that Cool Word of the Day denies a link between the phrase and Davy Jones of the Monkees. They also suggest that Davy comes from St. David, a patron saint of Welsh sailors, and reiterate the Jones/Jonah connection. That sounds reasonable enough to us.

So in 2002 we dropped the 'Locker' from our name, and simply believe that our name reflects 'the bottom of the sea' where many sailors and divers have safely explored in Gran Canaria.


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