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have the mouth of a sailor

To have a tendency or proclivity to use coarse, rude, or vulgar language. I don't know what you're letting your son watch on television, but, for a fifth grader, he sure has the mouth of a sailor! My grandmother is the sweetest old lady you'll ever know, but, my lord, does she have the mouth of a sailor!
See also: have, mouth, of, sailor

spend like a sailor (on (shore) leave)

To spend excessively, extravagantly, or wastefully. Now don't go spending like a sailor on shore leave just because you got a bit of a tax refund from the government. The local council has been spending like sailors on this new tram project, while other existing public transport goes into disrepair. Every time my husband's paycheck comes through, he goes out to the pubs and spends like a sailor on leave!
See also: like, sailor, spend

swear like a sailor

To use profanities or vulgar language very freely and fluently. (An allusion to the rough language presumed to be used by military personnel.) My little sister has been swearing like a sailor ever since she started learning bad words. My granny is the sweetest old lady you'll ever meet, but she swears like a sailor when she gets on the topic of something or someone she doesn't like.
See also: like, sailor, swear

like a drunken sailor

With no restraint. A merchant seaman on shore leave with months' worth of pay in his pocket tended to make up for lost time in the drinking and “play-for-pay romance” departments. Fiscal restraint was out of the question. So did miners and cowboys when they too had a chance to go to town, but the image of a sailor prevailed. The sea shanty “What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?” suggests the same idea of a jocular attitude toward an inebriated mariner.
See also: drunken, like, sailor
References in classic literature ?
he commanded, and tugged to pull the beast from among the sailors, many of whom were now sitting up in wide eyed fright or crawling away from their conqueror upon hands and knees.
It will take quite six weeks to unload the cargo, and we cannot get you ready for sea until three months after that; only be back again in three months, for the Pharaon," added the owner, patting the young sailor on the back, "cannot sail without her captain.
The other sailor had already seated himself on the port side and was ready to row.
At length, obliged to beat a retreat before superior numbers, they formed an intrenchment behind the large table, which they raised by main force; whilst the two others, arming themselves each with a trestle, and using it like a great sledge-hammer, knocked down at a blow eight sailors upon whose heads they had brought their monstrous catapult in play.
Translated, it was a warning to the Claytons to refrain from reporting the loss of the revolvers, or from repeating what the old sailor had told them--to refrain on pain of death.
An hour passed thus, during which daylight gradually disappeared, but during which also the sail in view gained so swiftly on the bark, that Goenne, one of the three sailors, ventured to say aloud:
About him, but at a respectful distance, stood a half-dozen sailors armed with rifles and revolvers.
If the proposition had come from the poor, ignorant sailor, she might possibly have not been so surprised; but that it should come from one who posed as a man of culture and refinement, from a gentleman, she could scarcely credit.
On the other hand, if you don't agree, I will go across the river, beyond your jurisdiction, and build a village for myself and my sailors, whom I shall send in the whale-boat to Guvutu for provisions.
Placing it in the custody of a sailor, he returned below and was helped up with his sea-chest by the steward.
The fifth sailor, rifle in hand, was standing guard by the water-tank just for'ard of the mainmast.
It's head for tall timber, and the Greeks take the hindermost," adjudged the cheerful sailor, while Ole was stuttering over what would happen when we came to the end of the river.
Near Button-Bright, on the ground, lay a sailor hat with a gilt anchor on the band.
Would I take Scotty, the runaway sailor, to visit the harpooner, on the opium- smuggler Idler?
The engagement commenced with about two hundred chops administered by the short sailor and the tall sailor alternately, without producing any particular result, until the short sailor was chopped down on one knee; but this was nothing to him, for he worked himself about on the one knee with the assistance of his left hand, and fought most desperately until the tall sailor chopped his sword out of his grasp.