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The book I'm reading contains the following excerpt:

He thought of men he knew, junior to him but with better luck or better interest, who were now lieutenants in command of brigs or cutters, or who had even been promoted master and commander: and all of them snapping up trabacaloes in the Adriatic, tartans in the Gulf of Lions, xebecs and settees along the whole of the Spanish coast. Glory, professional advancement, prize-money.

It's apparently a simple question that should be possible to answer with a simple Google... but it isn't! No dictionary I've looked in contains a definition. Nothing appears on Google. I might believe it was a mistake by the author if the same word didn't also exist in some naval diaries from around the time the book is set. Clearly this was once a word that was in use... but I just can't find it.

I'm assuming it was a type of boat (like xebecs and settees), but can anyone find me a definition? Thanks!

closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, Rand al'Thor, NVZ, oerkelens, tchrist Aug 19 '16 at 23:22

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    It's a misspelling of trabacoles or trabacolos. Possibly one that went along with a mispronunciation, if it's common. – Peter Shor Oct 15 '14 at 23:46
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    Amazing! I wonder if it's an alternate spelling, given that it appears in naval diaries from the period, but thanks so much! – Django Reinhardt Oct 15 '14 at 23:49
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    OED 1: "An Italian ship of medium size; a coasting vessel." OED is your best hope for obscure words; links to its individual volumes may be found here. – StoneyB Oct 15 '14 at 23:49
  • Ah! Fantastic. The OED wins again. I had no idea you could get a version online for free. Thanks! – Django Reinhardt Oct 15 '14 at 23:58
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    Wikipedia has an entry for Trabaccolo which I found by searching for trabacalo (since "trabacaloes" is plural). – andy256 Oct 16 '14 at 0:00
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As the Wikipedia article for Trabaccolo states:

The Trabaccoló, Trabaccalo, or Trabakul in Croatian, is a type of Adriatic Sea sailing coaster. The name comes from the word trabacca, which means tent, which in turn recalls the vessel's sails. The trabaccoló was a typical Venetian boat-form that dates back to the first half of the 15th Century and that spread throughout the Adriatic. Built of oak and larch, trabaccolós were slow but reliable cargo vessels ranging between 50 and 200 deadweight tons. They had round bows and sterns, and were wide, compact, and with good stowage. Other characteristics included a large rudder that extended below the depth of the keel, two masts with lug-sails and rigging, a bowsprit, and a carved and colorfully painted stern. The usual such vessel was about 20 metres long, with a breadth equal to about a third of the length. Typically a trabaccoló would have a crew of 10 to 20 sailors.

  • You might also note that the spelling I'm referring to doesn't appear in the Wikipedia page anywhere. That's why it doesn't appear in a Google search. It makes no difference if it's "been available since 2009". I've added this alternative spelling to the Trabaccolo Wikipedia article, so that it WILL appear in future. – Django Reinhardt Aug 16 '16 at 21:50
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    lol @Hot Licks if you look at the comments, you'll see that OP's question was answered back in '14 – Tony Aug 16 '16 at 21:52
  • @DjangoReinhardt - I simply took your "trabacaloes", dropped the pluralizing "-es" on the end, and Googled for that. Google was kind enough to match that up to the Wikipedia article. – Hot Licks Aug 16 '16 at 21:53
  • @Tony - Except that it wasn't answered, and hence kept getting "bumped" by Community. – Hot Licks Aug 16 '16 at 21:55
  • @HotLicks In future, it might be good to refer to the community guidelines when you answer: english.stackexchange.com/help/be-nice ("Rudeness and belittling language are not okay") There's no need to place "this info has been available since 2009" at the end of your answer, it adds nothing relevant to the question. – Django Reinhardt Aug 16 '16 at 21:55

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