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Discussion Starter #1
This saying comes from this nautical fact:
From the 16th century on until steam powered ships took over, British naval ships were rated as to the number of heavy cannon they carried. A ship of 100 or more guns was rated at #1 in line-of-battle ships. Ships that carried 90 to 98 guns were rated #2; Ships carrying 64 to 89 guns were rated #3; Ships carrying 50 to 60 guns were rated #4. Frigates carrying 20 to 48 guns were rated #5 and #6. This saying implies excellence.

WHAT IS THE SAYING?
 

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I've always heard (read) these 100 gun ships referred to as a "ship of the line." I doubt that's the saying though.
 

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Sorry bg and RustyBrown.

And bg you're correct about "ship of the line" referring to ships with 100 guns. But that's not the "saying". Re-read the source of the expression and after a while it should be clear.

But don't give up you 2, you'll get it.
 

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timbo said:
How about "top of the line"?
That was my first guess but it just didn't seem right because of what I've read in the past.
 
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