begnal

This one’s for the for the etymologists in the crowd. What did the word “skyscraper” mean in the 1800s? It may seem like a word born of the modern era, but as this 19th-century log book illustrates, the term has a longer history than many realize. In this case, “sky-scraper” is a nautical term describing the triangular sky-sail that flew at the very top of a mast. 

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Log book of the ship Begnal, 1807. MS 1165, William Darlington Papers. New-York Historical Society.