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1560s, from Latin remora "sucking fish," literally "delay, hindrance," from re- "back" (see re-) + mora "delay" (see moratorium); so called because the fish were believed by the ancients to retard a vessel to which they attached themselves. Hence, in 17c.-18c., "an obstacle, an impediment" (the first sense of the word in Johnson's dictionary). In Greek, ekheneis, from ekhein "to hold" + naus (dative nei) "ship." Pliny writes that Antony's galley was delayed by one at Actium. Sometimes called in English stayship or stopship.