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A medical companion to the Aubrey-Maturin books of Patrick O'Brian

This is an online glossary of the words and phrases in the Aubrey-Maturin books that are related to medical practice or general issues of human health. Many of these words are not now in common use and therefore need to be explained, but we have also included many current terms. Anglo-Australian spelling conventions have been used throughout this work.

The books indexed so far are:

Master and Commander (M&C), Post Captain (PC), HMS Surprise (HMSS), The Mauritius Command (TMC), Desolation Island (DI), The Fortune of War (FOW), The Surgeon's Mate (SM), The Ionian Mission (IM), Treason's Harbour (TH), The Far Side of the World (FSW), The Reverse of the Medal (RM), The Letter of Marque (LM), The Thirteen-Gun Salute (TGS), The Nutmeg of Consolation (NC), Clarissa Oakes / The Truelove (C/T), The Wine-Dark Sea (WDS), The Commodore (COM), The Yellow Admiral (YA), The Hundred Days (THD) and Blue at the Mizzen (BATM).
The page numbers vary a little between editions, so you'll have to regard these as approximate.

This is a collaborative work and has been achieved with the help of Rowen, Lois, Dick Tartow, Bill Nyden, Chris Moseley, Susan Wenger, Mal Marchant, Mary Lowry, Judith Gates, Gerry Strey, Rowena Evans, Lois Du Toit, Heather Robertson, Janet McDonald, Jefferson Bronfeld and Paul Kowalski. (Further volunteers are very welcome!) Various dictionaries and encyclopedias have been used in compiling the glossary, but one book that has been particularly helpful is Anthony Gary Brown's Persons, Animals, Ships and Cannon in the Aubrey-Maturin Sea Novels of Patrick O'Brian.

Please let us know if you think we've got anything wrong, if you have more information or if we've missed any appropriate terms in our cruise through the canon. Comments can be made to


A-D   E-L   M-Q   R-Z

For further information about the world of Aubrey-Maturin, visit:

Kerry Webb
Canberra, Australia

Last updated September 2010