I am reading the book Aloft by ChangeRae Lee and it contains the sentence:

She could easily float my boat, top my prop,crank up the generators.

I found the meaning of 'float my boat', but not the rest. I think these have sexual meanings but I'm not sure.

What is the meaning of:
1 top my prop
2 crank up the generators

EDIT (after helpful comments):

The sentences came from the book Aloft by ChangeRae Lee. It is very very useful to me in learning contemporary English phrases and words. It is hard to make a progress in reading the book because I have to look up or research what the phrases or words mean.

So does the 'top my prop' have no special meaning at all? Does it not have any sexual innuendos at all?

What does that 'She really puts the peas in my hot porridge,'really mean? Could you explain please. I do not get it.

As a English learner, the English is the most difficult language. It is hard to tell what is current and what is appropriate to use.


2 Answers 2


I'd use: Float (your) boat to mean: "If that makes you happy, then do it. It's none of my business."

A: I'm thinking of getting a tattoo on my forehead.

B: Erm.. OK. Whatever floats your boat.

Perhaps float my boat once meant to be attracted, but it feels pretty dated to me. "She floats my boat, Daddy-o"

The other two are trying to carry on the nautical theme (propellor, crank), though with more sexual allusion.

  • Native speakers wouldn't normally say She floats my boat. It's usually a "tolerant, broadminded" reply to someone saying they like [doing] something exotic / unusual (not necessarily sexually-oriented), as in "I like smoked kippers on my pizza" - "Whatever floats your boat". Often with the implication That's a private matter for you - I don't really care about it / I'm not interested. Jan 3, 2019 at 19:57
  • 1
    You realise we all have to try kippers on pizza now? ;-)
    – Matt
    Jan 3, 2019 at 22:26

"Top my prop" is a meaningless expression that relies on assonance (the repetition of the "op" sound) to be funny. It's not as clever as "float my boat" since that has both assonance and an actual meaning -- aside from the sexual innuendo, that is.

"Crank up the generator" is, of course, another innuendo that implies starting an electrical generator by cranking the handle. Nowadays generators, like many engines, are started with a pull-cord rather than an actual crank, but the rotary action is more or less the same.

As with any language, with the right intonation, almost anything in English can be turned into a sexual innuendo. For example:

She really puts the peas in my hot porridge, if you know what I mean.

It makes no sense -- but yes, I know what you mean.

  • 1
    Men can (and do) invent expressions on the spur of the moment and be understood and earn guffaws from other men - she can crack my rack, flatten my batten, fix my sticks, flip my chip, etc. Jan 3, 2019 at 19:24

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