Why Is The Late Shift Called The “Graveyard Watch”?


Why Is The Late Shift Called The “Graveyard Watch”? Now you will know.

Sailors called the late shift the “graveyard watch”.  It’s not because they felt like they going to die, although that may be true while you’re adjusting to the odd hours. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, sailors called the shift from midnight to 4:00 am the graveyard watch because of the silence and because of the number of disasters that occurred during these hours.

Current popular explanations for the origin of the phrase “graveyard shift” reference the 19th century problem of accidentally burying people who were still alive. To prevent this from happening,as the story goes, caskets were equipped with a bell-ringing device enabling a waking “corpse” to notify the world that they were no longer dead. The graveyard attendants who remained vigilant throughout the day and night worked the graveyard shift. This only a story and nothing more.

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