life-preserver

life preserver

noun
1.
a buoyant jacket, belt, or other like device for keeping a person afloat.
2.
British Slang. a weapon, especially a short stick with a weighted head; blackjack.

Origin:
1630–40

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
life preserver
 
n
1.  (Brit) a club or bludgeon, esp one kept for self-defence
2.  (US), (Canadian) a life belt or life jacket

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