Bristol fashion

appearing in good order


(in) Bristol fashion [British] = in bester/tadelloser Ordnung



“Great Britain saved in BRISTOL FASHION. The SS Great Britain, the only surviving ship designed by the engineering genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel… was the biggest ship in the world when it was launched in July 1843.”

Maev Kennedy — The Guardian

“Chinese students graduate in BRISTOL FASHION. Almost 1,000 people from across China will come together for a traditional British graduation celebration when the University of Bristol recognises the success of its recent graduates in Beijing.”

University of Bristol — Press Release

Did you

Bristol fashion
noun phrase

- in good order; efficiently arranged

Collins Dictionary

Note: This phrase is often written in the extended form: “ship-shape and in Bristol fashion"


The phrase "Bristol fashion" (from 1827) has an interesting etymology rooted in the maritime history of the city of Bristol.

Although the earliest recorded use of this phrase dates back to 1827, the concept certainly existed earlier.

Maritime hub: During the 18th and 19th centuries, Bristol was a major port city on the west coast of Britain. It boasted a thriving maritime industry with high standards for ship maintenance.

Quality craftsmanship: Bristol's ship suppliers, providing materials and equipment, were renowned for their craftsmanship and attention to detail. This contributed to the city's reputation for ships being kept in top condition.

Bristol also has the second highest tidal range in the world, causing ships to lean over heavily at low tide. There is speculation that "Bristol fashion" humorously referred to ships being "righted" and put in good order after the tide came in.

The two phrases “ship-shape” and “Bristol fashion” merged in the mid-19th century and have become a standard phrase in English meaning “in excellent order”.


Why 007’s naval training is key to high-performance leadership.

The smooth, unflappable James Bond handles any challenge thrown his way thanks to elite training from Britain's Royal Navy. Beyond mastering technical expertise, the real-life Royal Navy runs on a culture of soft skills like cheerfulness, commitment, and respect,… with relational abilities enabling the navy's success.

Though we picture officers barking top-down orders on deck, the Royal Navy actually rejects authoritarianism and operates through emotional intelligence by: (1) fostering trust and respect — making people feel valued — when morale dips, appreciation matters more than compensation, and (2) defining a positive organizational culture focused on relational excellence… making “customer orientation” and “integrity” intrinsic values, not just buzzwords.

In essence, the navy's approach to leadership is about creating a culture where the strength of an organization lies not just in its strategies or resources, but in the human connections that bind its members together.

When leaders prioritise the development of soft skills, they lay the groundwork for a resilient, high-performing team that can weather any storm — whether at sea or in the corporate world.


a1, ace, battened down, bonny, bristol, BRISTOL FASHION, buttoned down (up), by the numbers, crackerjack, even keel, first-class, hunky-dory, letter-perfect, mint condition, on an even keel, orderly, overhauled, polished, proper, razor sharp, ready (about), right as rain, roger, scoured and scrubbed, seaworthy, ship-shape, skintight, snug, spanking, sparkling, speckless, spic (and span), spiffed up, spiffy, sponged and scraped, spotless, spruce, spruced up, squared away, squeaky clean, surgil (arrangement, condition, order), taut, tight (as a tick), tidy, tiptop, trim, trued up, tunicate, up to snuff

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“I never realised the amount of interesting history behind the phrase ‘BRISTOL FASHION’ — we must visit that seaport when we’re next in West England.”

Every month, we spend evening and weekend hours researching and writing your daily OWAD. It remains FREE, AD-free, and ALIVE thanks to voluntary donations from appreciative readers. If you aren’t already, please also consider supporting us - even the equivalent of a single cup of coffee a month will help us cover mailing, site hosting, and maintenance costs. Just head over to our secure DonorBox page:

or bank transfer to Paul Smith
IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40
Please use your email-address as ‘Verwendungszweck

Thanks so much,

Paul Smith

P.S. New Seminar! 1-day “Intelligent English" with Paul & Helga Smith:

More Word Quizzes: