Tom Clancy would probably not like being called a Science Fiction writer — he wrote "techno-thrillers" — RIPPING YARNS of political intrigue inspired by speculations of the nature of top-secret military technology, pulled straight from the headlines of the Cold War.
idiomatic noun phrase
- exaggerated stories
Ripping Yarns is the name of a British television comedy series written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. Every episode had a different setting and characters, each looking at a different aspect of British culture in a parody of pre-World War II literature aimed at schoolboys.
In the title, "ripping" is chiefly British slang meaning "excellent" or "fine", and "yarns" is a colloquialism for exaggerated stories. Yarn, in the sense of a story, has its own unique origin.
ORIGIN OF YARNS
Officers and mates in the old Navy were strict disciplinarians who believed if sailors were allowed to congregate and tell sea stories, no work would be done. However, there was one job that required congregating on a weekly basis -- unwinding the strands of old line, or yarn.
On this day, the sailors could talk as much as they wanted and the period came to be known as the time for "spinning yarns." Later anyone telling a tale was said to be "spinning a yarn," a cherished naval tradition.
(sources: Wikipedia, U.S. Navy Library)
tall stories, tall tales, sea stories
"My grandfather entertained the family for years with his RIPPING YARNS."
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