N: 1. – raft (n.1): “floating platform,” late 15c., originally “rafter” (c.1300), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse raptr “log” (Old Norse -pt- pronounced as -ft-), related to Middle Low German rafter, rachter “rafter”.
– raft (n.2): “large collection,” 1830, variant of raff “heap, large amount,” from Middle English raf (compare raffish, riffraff); form and sense associated with raft (n.1).
– raft (v.): 1680s, from raft (n.1). Related: Rafted; rafting.
– rafter (n.): “sloping timber of a roof,” Old English ræftras (West Saxon), reftras (Mercian), both plural, related to Old Norse raptr “log,” from Proto-Germanic *raf-tra-, from PIE *rap-tro-, from root *rep- “stake, beam.”
2. Raft, simplest type of watercraft, made up of logs or planks fastened together to form a floating platform. The earliest were sometimes made of bundles of reeds. Most rafts have been designed simply to float with the current, but they can be equipped with oars or sails or both and can be navigated in the ocean over long distances, as was dramatically demonstrated by Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl in 1947; to test his theory that the Pacific islands might have been settled by people from South America, he sailed a large balsa raft, the Kon-Tiki, from Peru to islands near Tahiti in a voyage of three and a half months. The double-hulled catamarans of India are also seaworthy rafts.
3. The Administration’s policy of interdicting Cubans leaving on rafts and boats and transporting them to Gitmo quieted domestic discontent and made the crisis far less visible to the US public, which lowered the domestic political costs of the crisis. Nevertheless, the tough new policy did not result in the deterrent effect the Administration had hoped for. Two weeks after the policy announcement, the US Coast Guard was still rescuing and shipping off to Gitmo over 1,000 Cubans per day. It was only after Castro agreed to close the border that the crisis ended. So Gitmo’s effect should not be exaggerated, but it did give the Administration a bit of additional breathing room and allowed it to avoid more serious political consequences.
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention, among others, the oil painting The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819) produced by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) and the novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) written by Mark Twain (1835-1910).
S: 1. OED – https://bit.ly/2RCyDeZ; https://bit.ly/2E384vC (last access: 6 December 2018). 2. EncBrit – https://bit.ly/2RDPWMC (last access: 6 December 2018).
3. EMCI – https://bit.ly/2zJOjq6 (last access: 6 December 2018). 4. Louv – https://bit.ly/2sdOdFR (last access: 6 December 2018); CMU – https://bit.ly/2L3GGiE (last access: 22 March 2014); PM – https://bit.ly/2zMP4yF (last access: 9 February 2016); FCB.