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Paying sailors in hell?

If english speaking people sometimes talk about a person which has already left the earth and the person was a bad person then the people say: "He/she is paying sailors in hell." What does it mean?

A sailor is a person who sails on a boat as far as I know. Why there should be sailors in hell? And why shall people who enter hell pay them? Any suggestions?

By the way if you are interested the first time I heard this sentence was in season 4 episode 1 of the great but cancelled american series "Married with Children" where the Bundys had a family barbecue.

Thank you!

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Hi Chinafan,

    Good question - though I've never heard it outside of Married with Children.

    Ok, we can be sure that "in hell" means that person was inherently bad, and is now being punished. As for "paying sailors", I'd have to guess:

    Since it is a female (Aunt Tuney), I think the phrase implies that she was a prostitute for sailors on shore leave. Not literally, but that was the level of Steve's esteem for her: no job or relationship to be proud of. Perhaps he was implying that Aunt Tuney even had to pay them.

    If it were a male, then a homosexual suggestion is how I'd take it (no pun intended).

    It's a pretty nasty slur! :D

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