Mudcat Café message #153523 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16440   Message #153523
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
23-Dec-99 - 06:14 PM
Thread Name: Help: What is a 'forebitter'?
Subject: RE: Help: What is a 'forebitter'?
One of the possible reasons put up for calling work songs at sea shanties is that it's the same root as the shanties you can live in - and that it comes from work songs in the West Indies used when people were dragging small buildings around.

I think Stan Hugill sticks this in as one of the possible roots of the word.

As for the word shanty for a building, I think that has been variously suggested as coming from some comes from some West African language, or from Gaelic.

My guess would be that the work song shanty comes from chant, or chantez.