Glossary of Nautical Terms
(circa. 1814)



The situation of the sails, when their surfaces are pressed aft against the mast by the force of the wind.


The hinder part of a ship, or towards the stern. It also signifies farther aft or nearer to the stern; as, the barricade stands ABAFT the main-mast; that is, nearer to the stern.

Abaft the beam

Denotes the relative situation of any object with the ship when the object is placed in any part of that arch of the horizon which is contained between a line at right angles with the keel and that point of the compass which is directly opposite to the ship's course.


The inside of a ship.

A board

Is the distance run by a ship on one tack: thus they say, good board, when a ship does not go to leeward of her course; a short. board, and a long board, according to the distance run.

Aboard main tack!

The order to draw the lower corner of the main-sail down to the chestree.


The situation of a ship as soon as she has tacked.

About ship!

The order to prepare for tacking.


The situation of two or more ships lying with their sides parallel, and their heads equally advanced; in which case they are abreast of each other. Abreast of any place, means off or directly opposite to it.


The state of a ship broken from her moorings, and driving about without control.


Buoyed up by the water from the ground.


All that part of a ship which lies forward, or near the stem. It also signified farther forward; as, the manager stands afore the foremast; that is, nearer to the stem.


Behind, or near the stern of the ship.


A phrase applied to any object in the hinder part of the ship, as after hatchway, the after-sails, &c.

A ground

The situation of a ship when her bottom, or any part of it, rests in the ground

A head

Any thing which is situated on that point of the compass to which a ship's stern is said to be a-head of her.

A hull

The situation when all her sails are furled, and her helm to the lee-side; by which she lies with her head being somewhat inclined to the direction of the wind.

A lee

The position of the helm when it is pushed down to the lee-side.

All in the wind

The state of a ship's sails when they are parallel to the direction of the wind, so as to shake, or quiver.

All hands hoay!

The call by which all the ship's company are summoned upon deck.


At the mast heads, or any where about the higher rigging.

Along side

Side by side, or joined to a ship, wharf; &c.

Along shore

Along the coast; a coast which is in the sight of the shore, and nearly parallel to it.


Is distance. Keep aloof, that is, keep at a distance.

A main

At once, suddenly; as; let go main!

A midships

The middle of a ship, either with regard to her length or breadth.

To anchor

To let the anchor fall into the ground, for the ship to ride thereby.


Ground fit to hold a ship by her anchor.

The anchor is cock-bill

The situation of the anchor when it hangs by the stopper at the cathead.

At anchor

The situation of a ship riding at her anchor.

An end

The position of any mast, &c. when erected perpendicularly. The top-masts are said to be an-end when they are hoisted up to their usual stations.

A peek

Perpendicular to the anchor, the cable having been drawn so tight as to bring the ship directly over it. The anchor is then said to be apeek.

Arm the lead

Apply putty to the lower end.


On the shore. It also means A-GROUND.


Any distance behind a ship, as opposed to A-HEAD.


Across the line of a ship's course or keel.

Athwart hawse

The situation of a ship when driven by accident across the fore-part of another, whether they touch or are at a small distance from each other, the transverse position of the former is principally understood.

Athwart the fore foot

When any object crosses the line of a ship's course, but ahead of her it is said to be athwart her fore foot.


A direction across the ship from one side to the other.


The when applied to the anchor, it means that the anchor is drawn out of the ground, in a perpendicular direction, by the cable or buoy rope. The topsails are said to be atrip when they are hoisted up to the mast-head, to their utmost extent.


The command to stop, or cease, in any operation.


A shelter or screen of canvass, spread over the decks of a ship to keep off the heat of the sun. Spread the awning, extend it so as to cover the deck.


The same as atrip.

To back the anchor

To carry out a small anchor ahead of the large one, in order to prevent it from coming home.

To back astern

In rowing, is to impel the boat with her stern foremost by means of the oars.

To back the sails

To arrange them in a situation that will occasion the ship to move astern.

To back and fill

Is to receive the wind sometimes on the foreside of the sail, and sometimes on the other, and is used when dropping a vessel up or down a river.


A place for ships to anchor.

To bagpipe the mizen

To bring the sheet to the mizen shrouds.

To balance

To contract a sail into a narrower compass, by tying up a part of it at one corner.


Is either pigs of iron, stones, or gravel, which last is called single ballast; and their use is to bring the ship down to her bearings in the water which her provisions and stores will not do. Trim the ballast, that is spread it about, and lay it even, or runs over one side of the hold to the other.


Bale the boat; that is, lade or throw the water out of her.

Under bare poles

When a ship has no sail set.


A carvel built boat, that rows with ten or twelve oars.


A thin piece of wood. Batten down the hatches, is to nail batters upon the tarpaulins, which are over the hatches, that they may no be washed off.


The situation of one place from another, with regard to the points of the compass. The situation also of any distant object, estimated from some part of the ship, according to her situation; these latter bearings are either on the beam, before the beam, abaft the beam, on the lee or weather bow, on the lee or weather quarter, ahead or astern.

Bear a-hand

Make haste, dispatch.

To bear in with the land

Is when a ship sails towards the shore.

To bear off

To thrust or keep off the ship's side, &c. any weight when hoisting

To bear up or away

The act of changing a ship's course, to make her sail more before the wind


Caulking every seam in her bottom.

Beating to windward

The making a progress against the direction of the wind, by steering alternately close-hauled on the starboard and larboard tacks.

To becalm

To intercept the current of the wind, in its passage to a ship, by any contiguous object, as a shore above her sails, as a high sea behind, &c. and thus one sail is said to becalm another.

Before the beam

Denotes an arch of the horizon comprehended between the line of the beam and line of the keel forward.

To belay

To fasten a rope, by winding it several times backwards and forwards on a cleat or pin.

To bend

To make fast, to secure.

To bend a sail

Is to affix it to its proper yard, mast or stay.

Between decks

The space contained between any two decks of a ship.

Bight of a rope

Any part between the two ends.


A narrow inlet of the sea.


To break. The ship is BILGED, that is, her planks are broken with violence.


Is that which, by reason of the flatness of a ship's bottom, lies on her floor, and cannot go to the pump.


A kind of box to contain the compasses in upon the deck.


The station in which a ship rides at anchor, either alone, or in a fleet; the due distance between two ships; and also a room or apartment for the officers of a mess.


Very large pieces of timber in the fore-part of a ship, round which the cables are fastened when the ship is at anchor. AFTER-BITTS, a smaller kind of BITTS, upon the quarter-deck, for belaying the running rigging to.

To bitt the cable

Is to bring the cable under the cross-piece, and a turn round the bitt-head. In this position it may either be kept fixed or veered away.


The turn of a cable round the bitts.


That part of the cable which stays within-board round about the bitts when a ship is at anchor.


A piece of wood with running sheaves or wheels in it, through which the running rigging is passed, to add to the purchase.

Block and Block

When they cannot approach any nigher.

Board and Board

When two ships come so near as to touch each other, or when that lie side-by-side.

To board a ship

To enter an enemy's ship in an engagement.

Bold shore

A steep coast, permitting the close approach of a ship.


The rope which goes round a sail, and to which the canvas is sewed.

Bonnet of a sail

Is an additional piece of canvas put to the sail in moderate weather to hold more wind. Lace on the BONNET, that is, fasten it to the sail. Shake off the BONNET, take it off.


Cleaning the upper part of a ship's bottom, or that part which lies immediately under the surface of the water; and paying it over with tallow, or with a mixture of tallow, sulphur, resin &c.

Both sheets aft

The situation of a ship sailing right before the wind.


A frame of old rope or junk, laid out at the bows, stems, and sides of ships, to prevent them from being injured by flakes of ice.

Bow-line bridles

Lines made fast to the cringles in the sides of the sails, and to which the bow-line is fastened.


Lines made fast to the bridles, to haul then forward when upon a wind, which being hauled tort, enables the ship to sail nearer to the wind.

To bowse

To pull upon any body with a tackle, in order to remove it.


A large piece of timber which stands out from the bows of a ship.


A particular method of veering a ship, when the swell of the sea renders tacking impracticable.


It is performed by laying the head-sails aback, to pay off the ship's head when got in the wind, in order to return the ship's head into the line of her course.

To brace the yards

To move the yards, by means of the braces.

To brace about

To brace the yards round for the contrary tack.

To brace sharp

To brace the yards to a position, in which they will make the smallest possible angle with the keel, for the ship to have head-way.

To brace-to

To cast off the lee braces, and round in the weather braces, to assist the motion of the ship's head in tacking.

To brail up

To haul up a sail by means of the brads.


A name to certain ropes belonging to the mizen, used to truss it up to the gaff and mast. But it is likewise applied to all the ropes which are employed in hauling up the after-corners of the stay-sails.

To break bulk

The act of beginning to unload a ship.

To break sheer

When a ship at anchor is forced, by the wind or current, from that position in which she keeps her anchor most free of herself and most firm in the ground, so as to endanger the tripping or fouling her anchor.


Burning off the filth from a ship's bottom.


A rope employed to confine a ship sideways to a wharf or to some other ship.

To bring by the lee


To bring to

To check the course of a ship when she is advancing, by arranging the sails in such a manner as that they shall counteract each other, and prevent her from either retreating or advancing.

To broach to

To incline suddenly to windward of the ship's course against the helm, so as to present her side to the wind, and endanger her losing her masts. The difference between BROACHING TO, and BRINGING BY THE LEE may be thus defined: suppose a ship under great sail is steering south, having the wind at N. N. W. then west is the weather side, and east the lee-side. If, by any accident, her head turn round to the westward, so as that her sails are all taken a-back on the weather-side, she is said to BROACH TO. If, on the contrary, her head declines so far eastward as to lay her sails a-back on that side which was the lee-side, it is called BRINGING BY THE LEE.


A discharge of all the guns on one side of a ship both above and bellow.

Broken-backed, or hogged

The state of a ship which is so loosened in her frame as to drop at each end.


A partition.


The sides of a ship above the decks.


A floating conical cask, moored upon shoals, to show where the danger is; also used on anchors to show where they lie.


Lines that come down from the top of the mast to the foot rope before the sail, and by which the bunt or belly of the sail is hauled up outwards.

By the board

Over the ship's side.

By the head

The state of a ship when she is so unequally loaded as to draw more water forward than she ought.

By the wind

The course of a ship as nearly as possible to the direction of the wind, which is generally within six points of it.


A piece of wood fixed to the head of the mast, through which the next mast goes.


An instrument by which the anchor is weighed out of the ground, it being a great mechanical power, and is used for setting up the shrouds, and other work where great purchases are required.

To careen

To incline a ship on one side so low down, by the application of a strong purchase to her masts, as that her bottom on the other side my be cleansed by breaming, and examined.


The motion of falling off, so as to bring the direction of the wind on either side of the ship, after it has blown some time right a-head. It is particularly applied to a ship about to weigh anchor.

To cat the anchor

Is to hook the cat-block to the ring of the anchor and haul is up close to the cat-head.

Cat's Paw

A light air of wind perceived in a calm, sweeping the surface of the sea very lightly. A hitch taken on the lanyard of a shroud, in which the tackle is hooked in setting up the rigging, and for other purposes.


Short pieces of rope which connect the lower shrouds together where the futtock shrouds are fastened.


Large timbers projecting from the vessel's side, to which the anchor is raised and secured.


Filling the seams of a ship with oakum.


The word is applied to a squadron of a fleet, in line of battle, which occupies the middle of the line; and to that column ( in the order of sailing) which is between the weather and lee columns.


When two things rub and injure each other.

Chains, or Channels

A place built on the sides of the ship, projecting out, notched to receive the chain-plates, for the purpose of giving them a greater angle.


Are plates or iron fastened to the ship's side under the chains, and to these plates the dead eyes are fastened by iron strops.


Is when a vessel on the wind, in little wind, is caught a-back, and turns round on her keel to the same tack without starting either tack or sheet.


A vessel pursued by some other.


The vessel pursuing.


A phrase implying heartily, quickly, cheerly.

To clap

To put in place.

To claw off

The act of turning to windward from a lee-shore.


Is variously applied. The weather is said to be CLEAR, when it is fair and open; the sea-coast is CLEAR, when the navigation is not interrupted by rocks, &c. It is applied to cordage, cables, &c. when they are disentangled, so as to be ready for immediate service. In all these senses it is opposed to FOUL.

To clear the anchor

Is to get the cables off the flukes. or stock, and to disencumber it of ropes ready for dropping.

Clear hawse

When the cables are directed to their anchors without lying athwart each other.

To clear the hawse

Is to take out either a cross, an elbow, or a round turn.


Made fast, as the cable is to the ring of the anchor.

Clew down

To haul the yards down by the clew-lines.


Are ropes which come down from the yards to the lower corners of the sails, and by which the corners or clews of the sails are hauled up.

To clew up

To haul up the clews of a sail to its yard by means of the clew-lines


That trim of the ship's sails, when she endeavours to make a progress in the nearest direction possible towards that point of the compass from which the wind blows.

To club haul

A method of tacking a ship when it is expected she will miss stays on a lee-shore.


The raised work about the edges of a hatch.


The act of making progress along the sea-coast of any country.



To coil the rope

To lay it round in a ring, one turn inside another>


A large wooden mallet to drive the fid into the cable when in the act of splicing.

To come home

The anchor is said to come home when it loosens from the ground by the effort of the cable, and approaches the place where the ship floated at the length of her moorings.

Coming to

Denotes the approach of a ship's head to the direction of the wind.


The point of a compass to which the ship steers


The quality of a ship, which, for want of a sufficient ballast, is rendered incapable of carrying sail without being exposed to danger.


A small iron grapnel used to drag in the bottom of rivers, &c. for any thing loss.


A strand of small rope introduced several times through the bolt rope of a sail, and twisted, to which ropes are fastened.

To crowd sail

To carry more sail than ordinary.


Is a number of small lines spread from the fore-parts of the tops, by means of the piece of wood through which they pass, and being hauled taut upon the stays, they prevent the foot of the top-sails catching under the top rim; they are also used to suspend the awnings.


The art of directing the helmsman to guide the ship in her proper course.

To cut and run

To cut the cable and make sail instantly, without waiting to weigh anchor.


A long beam of timber used to fish the anchor. See FISH THE ANCHOR.

Dead water

The eddy water, which appears like whirlpools, closing in with the ship's stern, as she sails on.

Dead lights

A kind of window-shutter for the windows in the stern of a ship, used in very bad weather.

Dead wind

The wind right against the ship, or blowing from the very point to which she wants to go.

Dead eyes

Blocks of wood through which the lanyards of the shrouds are reeved.

To deaden a ship's way

To impede her progress through the water.


The state of a ship that has lost her masts.


A small vane with feathers and cork, placed on the ship's quarter for the men at the cun and helm, to direct them when the vessel is nigh the wind.


The watches from four to six, and from six to eight, in the evening.


A rope or strap round a mast to support the pudding, where the lower yards rest in the slings. Also, a spar or buoy with a large ring in it, secured to an anchor, to which vessels may bend their cables.


Board, thicker than sheathing, which being nailed to the bottom will stand caulking.


The act of sailing round or passing beyond a cape or point or land.

Doubling upon.

The act of enclosing any part of a hostile fleet between two fires, or of cannonading it on both sides.


The rope by which any sail is hauled down; as the jib downhaul, &c.

To dowse

To lower suddenly, or slacken.

To drag the anchor

To trail it along the bottom, after it is loosened from the ground.

To draw

When a sail is inflated by the wind, so as to advance the vessel in her course, the sail is said TO DRAW; and SO TO KEEP ALL DRAWING is to inflate all the sails.


The angle which the line of a ship's motion makes with the nearest meridian, when she drives with her side to the wind and waves when laying to. It also implies the distance which the ship drives on that line.


A large sail set upon the mizen yard in light winds.


The state of being carried at random, as impelled by a storm or current. It is generally expressed of a ship when accidentally broken loose from her anchors or moorings.


Used sometimes to denote the depth of a sail; as a fore-topsail drops twelve yards.

To drop anchor

Used synonymously with TO ANCHOR.

To drop a-stern

The ship is said to drop a-stern when, in company with others, she does not sail so fast

To drop down a river

Is done either by backing and filling, or with the kedge anchor.


A quantity of loose wood, &c. laid at the bottom of a ship to keep the goods from being damaged.


A small rope fastened to a cringle in the head of the sail, for the purpose of extending it along the yard. There are Ear-rings for each reef.

To ease, to ease away, or to ease off

To slacken gradually; thus they say, EASE the bowline; EASE the sheet.

Ease the ship!

The command given by the pilot to the helmsman to put the helm a lee, when the ship is expected to plunge her fore part deep in the water when close-hauled.

To edge away

To decline gradually from the shore or from the line of the course which the ship formerly held, in order to go more large.

To edge in with

To advance gradually towards the shore or any other object.

Elbow in the hawse

Is when a ship being moored, has gone round upon the shifting of the tides, twice the wrong way, so as to lay the cables one over the other: having gone once wrong, she makes a cross in the hawse, and going three times wrong, she males a round turn.


A reversal of the position of any thing is turning it END-FOR-END. It is applied also to a rope that has run quite out of the block in which it was reeved, or to a cable which has all run out of the ship.


When a ship advances to a shore, rock, &c. without an apparent possibility of preventing her, she is said to go END ON for the shore, &c.


The flag worn at the stern of a ship.


A large port in the sides of three-deckers, leading into the middle deck, to save the trouble of going up the ship's side to get on board.

Even keel

When the keel is parallel with the horizon.

Fack, or Fake

One circle of any cable or rope coiled.

Fag end

The end of a rope fagged out. See WHIPPING.

Fair wind

A term for the wind when favourable to a ship's course.


The channel of a narrow bay, river, or haven, in which ships usually advance in their passage up and down.


Any rope that passes through two or more blocks.

To fall aboard of

To strike or encounter another ship when one or both are in motion.

To fall a-stern


To fall calm

Is when there is a cessation of the wind.

To fall down


Falling off

Denotes the motion of the ship's head from the direction of the wind. It is used in opposition to COMING TO.

Fall not off

The command to the steersman to keep the ship near the wind.


A measure of six feet.

To fetch way

To be shaken or agitated from one side to another so as to loosen any thing which was before fixed.


A square bar of wood or iron, with shoulders at one end; it is used to support the weight of the topmast, when erected at the head of a lower mast.

Fid for splicing

A large piece of wood, of a conical figure, used to extend the strands and layers of cables in splicing.

To fill

To brace the sails so as to receive the wind in them, and advance the ship in her course, after they had been either shivering or braced a-back.


A large piece of wood. Fish the mast, apply a large piece of wood to it to strengthen it.


A large hook by which the anchor is received from under the cat-head, and brought to the side or gunwale; and the tackle which is used for this purpose is called the fish-tackle.

To fish the anchor

To draw up the flukes of the anchor towards the top of the bow, in order to stow it, after having been catted by means of the davit.


A general name for colours worn and used by ships of war.


The situation of the sails when their surfaces are pressed aft against the mast by the force of the wind.

To flat in

To draw in the aftermost lower corner or clue of a sail towards the middle of the ship, to give the sail a greater power to turn the vessel.

To flat in forward

To draw in the fore-sheet, jib-sheet, and fore-staysail-sheet, towards the middle of the ship.


A sudden breeze or gust of wind.


Above five sail of the line


The state of being buoyed up by the water from the ground.


The state of a tide when it flows or rises.

Flowing sheets

The position of the sheets of the principal sails when they are loosened to the wind, so as to receive it into their cavities more nearly perpendicular than when close hauled, but more obliquely than when the ship sails before the wind. A ship going two or three points large has FLOWING SHEETS.


That part of a ship's frame and machinery that lies near the stem.


Throughout the whole ship's length. Lengthways of the ship.

To-fore-reach upon

To gain ground on some other ship.


The upper deck in the fore part of the ship.

To forge over

To force a ship violently over a shoal by a great quantity of sail.


Towards the fore part of a ship.


Opposed to fair.

To founder

To sink at sea by filling with water.


Two or more yarns twisted together by hand.

To free

Pumping is said to free the ship when it discharges more water than leaks into her.

To freshen

When a gale increases it is said to freshen.

To freshen the hawse

Veering out or heaving in a little cable to let another part of it to endure the chafing in the hawse-holes. It is applied to the act of renewing the service round the cable at the hawse-holes.

Fresh away

When a ship increases her velocity she is said to FRESH AWAY.


The situation of the sails when they are kept distended by the wind.


The situation of a ship, with regard to the wind, when close-hauled; and sailing so as to steer neither too nigh the direction nor to deviate to leeward.

To furl

To wrap, or roll, a sail close up to the yard or stay to which it belongs, and winding a gasket round it to keep it fast.


Are the shrouds which connect the lower and top mast rigging together.

Gage of the ship

Her depth of water, or what water she draws.

To gain the wind

To arrive on the weather, or to windward, of some ship or fleet in sight, when both are sailing on the wind.

Gammon the bowsprit

Secure it by turns of a strong rope passed round it, and into the cut water, to prevent if from topping.


The entering place into a ship.

Garboard streak

The streak nearest to the keel.


Foxes plaited together, and which they pass round the sails and yards, &c. to keep them fast when they are furled.

To gather

A ship is said to gather on another as she comes nearer to her.


A block strapt with a tail to it, on which is fixed a sheave, which is hitched on the cable when heaving in; through the block is generally rove a whip, to hold on the cable.


The action of turning the anchor round by the stock, so that the motion of the stock appears similar to that of the handle of a gimblet, when employed to turn the wire.


The ship is girt with her cables when she is too light moored.

To give chase to

To pursue a ship or fleet.

Goose-wings of a sail

The clues or lower corners of a ship's mainsail or foresail, when the middle part is furled or tied up to the yard.


A thing in the nature of an anchor, with four or six flukes to it.


Are hatches made full of apertures.

Grave the ship

To burn off the filth from her bottom.

Gripe of a ship

That thin part of her which is fastened to the keel and stem, and joined to the false stern.


The inclination of a ship to run to windward.

Groin in the cable

Is when the cable does not coil as it ought.


The laying a ship a-shore, in order to repair her. It is also applied to running a-ground accidentally.


Every thing belonging to a ship's anchors, and which are necessary for anchoring or mooring; such as cables, hawsers, towlines, warps, buoy-ropes, &c.


That is, the tier which is lowest in the hold.


Stretching out; applied to the direction of the cable from the ship towards the anchors; as, the cable GROWS on the starboard bow.


A piece of rope, laid into a circular form, and used for large boats' oars, instead of rowlocks, and also for many other purposes.


A division of the lower deck, abaft, enclosed with network, for the use of the gunner and junior lieutenant, and in which their cabins stand.


The large plank that runs along upon the upper part of a ship's side.


A rope fixed to keep any thing in its place.


The act of shifting any boom-sail from one side of the mast to the other.


The ropes by which the sails are hoisted, as the topsail halyards, the jib halyards, &c.

To hail

To salute or speak to a ship at a distance.


The same as furling.

To hand the sail

The same as to furl them.


The pulling of any rope, by the men's passing their hands alternately one before the other, or one above another.




Bars made use of with a windlass.


Pieces of wood to attach stay sails to their stays.


When two ships tack and make a progress to windward together.


A secure place for a ship to anchor.

Hard a-lee

The situation of the helm, which pushed close to the lee side of the ship.

Hard a-weather

The situation of the helm, when pushed close to the weather side of a ship.

To haul

To pull a rope.

To haul the wind

To direct the ship's course nearer to the point from which the wind blows.


The situation of the cables before the ship's stem, when she is moored with two anchors out from forwards. It also denotes any small distance a-head of a ship, or the space between her head and the anchors employed to ride her.


The holes in the bows of the ship through which the cables pass. Freshen hawse, veer out more cable. Clap a service in the hawse, put somewhat round the cable in the hawse hole to prevent its chafing. To clear hawse, is to untwist the cables where the ship is moored, and has got a foul hawse. Athwart hawse is to be across or before another ship's head.


A small kind of cable.


A rope employed to confine the head of a ship to a wharf or some other ship


The situation of any ship or ships which are the most advanced in a fleet.


All the sails which belong to the foremast and bowsprit.


When the waves meet the head of a ship in her course, they are called a HEAD SEA. It is likewise applied to a large single wave coming in that direction.


The situation of a ship when her head is turned to the point from which the wind blows, as it must when tacking.


The motion of advancing, used in opposition to STERN-WAY.

To heave

To turn about a capstern, or other machine of the like kind, by means of bars, handspikes, &c.

To heave a-head

To advance the ship by heaving in the cable or other rope fastened to an anchor at some distance before her.

To heave a-peak

To heave in the cable, till the anchor is a-peak.

To heave a-stern

To move a ship backwards by an operation similar to that of HEAVING A-HEAD.

To heave down


To heave in the cable

To draw the cable into the ship, by turning the capstern or windlass.

To heave-in stays

To bring a ship's head to the wind, by a management of the sails and rudder, in order to get on the other tack.

To heave out

To unfurl or loose a sail; more particularly applied to the staysails: thus we say, loose the top-sails and HEAVE OUT the staysails.

To heave short

To draw so much of the cable into the ship, as that she will be almost perpendicularly over her anchor.

To heave tight, or taut

To turn the capstern round, till the rope or cable becomes straightened.

To heave the capstern

To turn it round with the bars.

To heave the lead

To throw the lead overboard, in order to find the depth of water.

To heave the log

To throw the log overboard, in order to calculate the velocity of the ship's way.

To heave to

To stop the vessel from going forward.

Heave handsomely

Heave gently or leisurely.

Heave heartily

Heave strong and quick.

Heave of the sea

Is the power that the swell of the sea has upon a ship in driving her out, or faster on, in her course, and for which allowance is made in the day's work.

To heel

To stoop or incline to one side; thus they say TO HEEL TO PORT; that is, to heel to the larboard side.


The instrument by which the ship is steered, and includes both the wheel and the tiller, as one general term.

Helm a-lee

A direction to put the tiller over to the lee-side.

Helm a-weather

An order to put the helm over to the windward side.


The situation of a ship when so far run a-ground as to be seen dry upon the strand.


To make fast.

To hoist

To draw up any body by the assistance of one or more tackles. Pulling by means of a single block is never termed HOISTING, except only the drawing of the sails upwards along the masts or stays.


Is the space between the lower deck and the bottom of a ship and where her stores, &c. lie. To stow the hold, is to place the things in it.

To hold its own

Is applied to the relative situation of two ships when neither advances upon the other; each is then said to HOLD ITS OWN. It is likewise said of a ship which, by means of contrary winds, cannot make a progress towards her destined port, but which, however, keeps nearly the distance she had already run.

To hold on

To pull back or retain any quantity of rope acquired by the effort of a capstern, windlass, tackle, block, &c.


Implies the proper situation of any object; as, to haul HOME the top-sail sheets is to extend the bottom of the top-sail to the lower yard by means of the sheets. In stowing a hold, a cask, &c. is said to be HOME, when it lies close to some other object.


A rope under the yards to put the feet on.


A particular kind of vessel.

Hull of the ship

The body of it.

Hull down

Is when a ship is so far off, that you can only see her masts.


The situation of a ship when she lies with all her sails furled; as in TRYING.

To hull a ship

To fire cannon-balls into her hull.


A ship without masts or rigging; also a vessel to remove masts into or out of ships by means of sheers, from whence they are called sheer hulks.


The union flag.


Particular method of taking a turn with a rope, &c.


The blocks through which jeers are rove.


The ropes by which the lower yards are suspended.


The foremost sail of a ship, set upon a boom which runs out from the bowsprit.


A spar that runs out from the bowsprit.

Jolly boat

Smallest boat on board.


Old cable, or old rope.


Any spar that is set up, when the proper mast is carried away.


Any part of a cable, covered over with old ropes, to prevent its surface from rubbing against the ship's bow or fore foot.


A small anchor.


The principal piece of timber on which the vessel is built.


To drag a person backwards and forwards under a ship's keel, for certain offences.

To keep away

To alter the ship's course to one rather more large.

To keep full

To keep the sails distended by the wind.

To keep your luff

Too continue close to the wind.

To keep the wind

The same as KEEP YOUR LUFF.


What is put in the bottom of the vessel to keep the ground tier from getting wet.


Is when a rope has too much twist.


Are pieces of timber which confine the ends of the beams to the vessel's side.


A large kind of platted rope, which being twisted round the messenger and cable in weighing, bind them together.


A division of the knot-line, answering, in the calculation of the ship's velocity, to one mile.


There are many sorts; such as overhand knot, wall-knot, diamond knot, &c.

To labour

To roll or pitch heavily in a turbulent sea.

Laden in bulk

Freighted with a cargo not packed, but lying loose, as corn, salt, &c.

Laid up

The situation of a ship when moored in a harbour, for want of employ.


The wind is on the quarter or abaft the beam. With the wind free when studding sail will draw.


Signifies to let go the top rope, when a top-mast, or top-gallant-mast, is fidded.


The first land discovered after a sea voyage. Thus a GOOD LAND-FALL implies the land expected or desired, a BAD LAND-FALL the reverse.


The situation of a ship surrounded with land so as to exclude the prospect of the sea, unless over some intervening land.

Lanyards of the shrouds

Are the small ropes at the ends of them, by which they are hove taut, or tight.


The left side of a ship, looking towards the head.


The situation of a ship when sailing with the wind blowing upon her larboard side.


To bind.

Laying the land

A ship which increases her distance from the coast, so as to make it appear lower and smaller, is said to LAY THE LAND.

Lead line

A rope with a lead weight attached to measure the depth of water. The rope has coloured markers along it's length to indicate depth. See also 'sound'


A fair wind for a ship's course.


A chink or breach in the sides or bottom of a ship, through which the water enters into the hull.

To leak

To admit water into the hull through chinks or breaches in the sides or bottom.


That part of the hemisphere to which the wind is directed, to distinguish it from the other part which is called to windward.


Are the sides of the sails.


Are lines which haul up the leeches to the yard.


A ship or fleet to leeward of another is said to have the lee-gage.


The sudden and violent rolls which a ship often takes to leeward in a high sea; particularly when a large wave strikes her on the weather-side.

Lee of the shore



That quarter of a ship which is on the lee-side.


That shore upon which the wind blows.


That half of a ship, lengthwise, which lies between a line drawn through the middle of her length and the side which is farthest from the point of wind.

To leeward

Towards that part of the horizon to which the wind blows.

Leeward ship

A ship that falls much to leeward of her course, when sailing close-hauled.

Leeward tide

A tide that sets to leeward.


The lateral movement of a ship to leeward of her course; or the angle which the line of her way makes with a line in the direction of her keel

To lie along

To be pressed down sideways by a weight of sail in a fresh wind.

To lie to

To retard a ship in her course, by arranging the sails in such a manner as to counteract each other with nearly an equal effort, and render the ship almost immoveable, with respect to her progressive motion or headway.


For the preservation of the seamen; they are hitched to the topsail lift and tye blocks.


The ropes which come to the ends of the yards from the mast heads, and by which the yards are kept square or toped.


Holes cut in the ground timbers to let the water come to the well.

List incline

The ship has a list to port, that is, she heels to larboard.


A bight of a small line pointed on a large one.

Log, and Log-line

By which the ship's path is measured, and her rate of going ascertained. Log-board, on which are marked the transactions of the ship, and from thence it is copied into the log-book every day.


A large iron ball, with a stem to it.

A long sea

A uniform motion of long waves.


A watchful attention to some important object or event that is expected to arise. Thus persons on board of a ship are occasionally stationed to look out for signals, other ships, for land, &c.

To loose

To unfurl or cast loose any sail.

To lower

To ease down gradually


The order to the steersman to put the helm towards the lee side of the ship, in order to sail nearer to the wind.


A place where gunpowder is kept.

To make a board

To run a certain distance upon one tack, in beating to windward.

To make foul water

To muddy the water by running in shallow places so that the ship's keel disturbs the mud at bottom.

To make sail

To increase the quantity of sail already set, either by unreefing, or by setting others.

To make sternway

To retreat or move with the stern foremost.

To make the land

To discover it from afar.

To make water

To leak.

To man the yards

To place men on the yard, in the tops, down the ladder, &c. to execute any necessary duties.


Small line to seize blocks in their straps, &c.


An instrument to splice with, &c.


Having all her masts complete.


The upright spars on which the yards and sails are set.


Large hammer to drive the fid of the top-mast either in or out.

Mend the service

Put on more service.


A small kind of cable, which being brought to the capstain and the cable by which the ship rides made fast to it, it purchases the anchor.

To middle a rope

To double it into equal parts



To miss stays

A ship is said to MISS STAYS, when her head will not fly up into the direction of the wind, in order to get her on the other tack.


The after end of the gaff.


An iron sliding ram used in driving in armour bolts in ironclad ships.


A small cannon (alias dog)


A small wooden cask to hold rum.


Are on some topsail yards, to reeve buntlines in.


A short, usually red jacket worn by midshipmen.


This name has been given to a platform connecting a fore and after cabin in the after part of a vessel. It may also signify a very short poop.


A pipe-stem or straw for sucking the contents of a cask.


Said of a ship when under-rigged.


Securing a ship in a particular station by chains or cables, which are either fastened to an adjacent shore, or to anchors at the bottom.

Mooring service

When a ship is moored, and rides at one cables length, the mooring service is that which is in the hawse hole.


A kind of ball or knob, wrought upon the collar of the stays.


To assemble.


A small passage between two lands.


The lowest tides when the moon is at the first or third quarters.


The situation of a ship left aground on the height of a spring-tide, so that she cannot be floated till the return of the next spring-tide.

Near, or no near

An order to the helmsman not to keep the ship so close to the wind.


Intrument with two jaws by which a rope or cable may be seized.


A term used by the man at the cun to the steersman, directing him not to go from the wind.


The kind of buoys used by ships of war.


Old rope untwisted and pulled open.


What boats are rowed with!


To seaward from the land. A ship is in the offing, that is, she is to seaward, at a distance from the land. She stands for the offing, that is, towards the sea.


When a ship is beating to windward, so the by one board she approaches towards the shore, and by the other stands out to sea, she's said to stands OFF-AND-ON shore.


From the shore; as when a ship lies a-ground, and leans towards the sea, she is said to heel offward.

On board

Within the ship; as, he is come on board.

On the beam

Any distance from the ship on a line with the beams, or at right angles with the keel.

On the bow

An arch of the horizon, comprehending about four points of the compass on each side of that point to which the ship's head is directed. Thus, they say, the ship in sight bears three points on THE STARBOARD-BOW; that is, three points towards the right hand, from that part of the horizon which is right a-head.

On the quarter

An arch of the horizon, comprehending about four points of the compass, on each side of that point to which the ship's stern is directed.


The situation of a place exposed to the wind and sea. It is also expressed of any distant object to which sight or passage is not intercepted.

Open hawse

When the cables of a ship at her moorings lead straight to their respective anchor, without crossing, she is said to ride with an OPEN-HAWSE


The deck on which the cables are stowed.


Out of the ship; as, he fell overboard, meaning he fell out of, or from, the ship


To clear away and disentangle any rope; also to come up with the chase: as, we overhaul her, that is, we gain ground of her.


A ship is OVER-SET when her keel turn upwards.


The state of a ship when she is not properly balanced for the purposes of navigation.


A spar projecting from the vessel to extend some sail, or make a greater angle for a shifting back-stay, &c.


A rope attached to the bows of a boat, used to make her fast.


A piece of steel when mounted acts as a thimble for sewing canvass.

Parcel a rope

Is to put a narrow piece of canvass round it before the service is put on.


The situation of a ship when she is made to stoop little to one side, so as to clean the upper part of her bottom on the other side.


Being driven from the anchors by the breaking of the cable.

To pawl the capstain

To fix the pawls, so as to prevent the capstain from recoiling, during any pause of heaving.

To pay

To daub, or cover, the surface of any body with pitch, tar, &c. in order to prevent it from the injuries of the weather.

To pay away or pay out

To slacken a cable or other rope, so as to let it run out for some particular purpose.

To pay off

To move a ship's head to leeward.


A stay-peek, is when the cable and the fore-stay form a line. A short peek, is when the cable is so much in as to destroy the line formed by the stay-peek. To ride with the yards a-peek, is to have them topped up by contrary lifts, so as to represent a St. Andrew's cross. They are then said to be a Portland.


The long narrow flag worn at the mast-head by all ships of the royal navy. Brace pendants are those ropes which secure the brace-blocks to the yard-arms.

Pendant broad

A broad pendant hoisted by a commodore


A term for gun-ports.


The movement of a ship, by which she plunges her head and after-part alternately into the hollow of the sea.

To ply to windward

To endeavour to make progress against the direction of the wind.


The direction of a gun when leveled horizontally.


A number of plated ropes made fast to the sails for the purpose of reefing.


The deck next above the quarter-deck.


The shock of a high and heavy sea upon the stern or quarter of a ship, when she scuds before the wind in a tempest.

Portland yards

The same as PORT LAST; TO RIDE A PORPOISE is to ride with a yard struck down to the deck.


Used for larboard, or the left side; also a harbour or haven


A name given on some occasions to the larboard side of the ship; as, the she heels to port, top the yards to port, &c.


The holes in the ship's sides from which the guns are fired.

Press of sail

All the sail a ship can set or carry.


An extra rope, to assist another.


The application of a lever to move any weighty body.


Any sort of mechanical power employed in raising or removing heavy bodies.


To purchase the anchor, is to loosen it out of the ground.


A large pad made of ropes, and put round the masts under the lower yards.


The several stations of a ship's crew in time of action.


When a ship under sail has the wind blowing on her quarter.


Is a rope or cable laid up round, one fake over another.


A parcel of spars lashed together.


A port in a vessel's bow or stern to take in spars or timbers.

To raise

To elevate any distant object at sea by approaching it: thus, TO RAISE THE LAND is used in opposition to LAY THE LAND.

To rake

To cannonade a ship at the stern or head, so that the balls scour the whole length of the decks.

Range of cable

A sufficient length of cable, drawn upon the deck before the anchor is cast loose, to admit of its sinking to the bottom without any check.


The small ropes fastened to the shrouds, by which the men go aloft.


The Distance between any two points on the banks of a river, wherein the current flows in an uninterrupted course.

Ready about!

A command of the boatswain to the crew, and implies that all the hands are to be attentive, and at their stations for tacking.


The last division of a squadron, or the last squadron of a fleet. It is applied likewise to the last ship of a line, squadron or division.


Part of a sail from one row of eyelet-holes to another. It is applied likewise to a chain of rocks lying near the surface of the water.


The operation of reducing a sail by taking in one or more of the reefs.


Pieces of canvass, about six inches wide, sewed on the fore part of sails, where the points are fixed for reefing the sail.


To reeve a rope, is to put it through a block, and to unreeve it, is to take it out of the block.

Ribs of a ship

That is, the frame.


The giving way or yielding to the efforts of some mechanical power. It is used in opposition to jambing or sticking.

Ride at anchor

Is when a ship is held by her anchors, and is not driven by wind or tide. To ride athwart, is to ride with the ship's side to the tide. To ride hawse-fallen, is when the water breaks into the hawse in a rough sea.


When expressed of a ship, is the state of being retained in particular station by an anchor and cable. Thus she is said to RIDE EASY or TO RlDE HARD, in proportion to the strain upon her cable. She is likewise said TO RIDE LEEWARD TIDE if anchored in a place at a time when the tide sets to leeward, and TO RIDE WINDWARD TIDE if the tide sets to windward: to RIDE BETWEEN WIND AND TIDE, when the wind and tide are in direct opposition, causing her to ride without any strain upon her cables.

To rig

To put the ropes in their proper places.


The ropes to rig with.

Rigging out a boom

The running out a pole at the end of a yard to extend the foot of a sail.

To rig the capstain

To fix the bars in their respective holes.


Restoring a ship to an upright position, either after she has been laid on a careen, or after she has been pressed down on her side by the wind.

To right the helm

Is to bring it into midships, after it has been pushed either to starboard or larboard.


Several turns round the cable and through the ring to secure the cable.


A place near the land here ships may anchor, but which is not sheltered.


Small plaited yarns with eyes to fasten the sails to the yards with.


The motion by which a ship rocks from side to side like a cradle.


Is what the cordage and cables are made with.


A name applied to any mast, yard or boom, placed in merchant-ships, or a rail or fence above the vessel's side, from the quarter deck to the forecastle.


A house built upon the deck.


Ropes used to put round the cable in the wake of the hawse, or stem of the ship, to keep it from rubbing or chafing the cable.


The pulling upon any rope which passes through one or more blocks in a direction nearly horizontal; as, ROUND-IN the weather braces.


The situation of the two cables of a ship when moored, after they have been several times crossed by the swinging of the ship.


Similar to ROUNDING-IN, except that it is applied to ropes and blocks which act in a perpendicular direction.

To row

To move a boat with oars.


Pulling upon a cable or rope without assistance of tackles.


The machine by which the ship is steered.


The nitch in a boat's side, in which the oars are used.


The after-part of a vessel in the water.


The first that is put over the lower masts with a block in each end.

To run out a warp

To carry the end of a rope out from a ship in a boat, and fastening it to some distant object, so that by it the ship may be removed by pulling on it.

To sag to leeward

To make considerable leeway.

Sailing trim

Is expressed of a ship when in the best state for sailing.


A large port in the quarter of a fire-ship where the Captain comes out at, when he sets her on fire.


A part of the value of a ship and cargo paid to the salvors.


The variation of the wind, by which it becomes unfavourable to a ship's making great progress, as it deviates from being large, and obliges the vessel to steer close-hauled, or nearly so.


A steel instrument to scrape with.


To go right before the wind; and going in this direction without any sail set is called spooning.


A small cover to cover a small hole in the deck.


Cutting large holes through the bottom or sides of a ship, either to sink or to unlade her expeditiously when stranded.


A large wave is so called. Thus they say, A HEAVY SEA. It implies likewise the agitation of the ocean, as A GREAT SEA. It expresses the direction of the waves, as A HEAD SEA. A LONG SEA means a uniform and steady motion of long extensive waves; a SHORT SEA, on the contrary, is when they run irregularly, broken, and interrupted.


A vessel that bears the sea firmly, without straining her masts, &c.


Jackets, trowsers, &c.


A point or object on shore, conspicuously seen at sea.


The joints between the planks.


A sufficient distance from the coast or any dangerous rocks, &c. so that a ship may perform all nautical operations without danger of shipwreck.


To bind or make fast.


The spun-yarn, marline, &c. to seaze with.


The act of pitching precipitately into the hollow between two waves.


To wind something about a rope to prevent it from chafing, or fretting. The service is the thing so wound about the rope.


The act of observing the situation of any distant object by the compass.

To set sail

To unfurl and expand the sails to the wind, in order to give motion to the ship.

To set up

To increase the tension of the shrouds, backstays, &c. by tackles, lanyards, &c.


To lower; as, SETTLE THE TOP-SAIL HALYARDS, lower them.

Shank of an anchor

The part between the ring and the flooks.


The rope by which the shank of the anchor is held up to the ship's side; is also made fast to a piece of iron chain, in which the shank of the anchor lodges.

To shape a course

To direct or appoint the track of a ship, in order to prosecute a voyage.


The sheer of the ship is the curve that is between the head and the stern, upon her side. The ship sheers about, that is, she goes in and out.


Are spars lashed together, and raised up, for the purpose of getting out or in a mast.


The vessel is said to sheer when the cable and anchor is not right a-head.


A vessel to take out and put in the lower masts and bowsprit.

To sheer off

To remove to a greater distance.


Ropes fixed to the lower corners of square sails, &c.

To sheet home

To haul the sheets of a sail home to the block on the yard-arm.

To shift the helm

To alter its position from right to left, or from left to right.

To ship

To take any person, goods, or thing, on board. It also implies to fix any thing in its proper place; as, to SHIP THE OARS, to fix them in their rowlocks.


A double bight taken in a rope with a hitch at each end.

Ship shape

Doing anything in a sailor-like manner.


The state of a sail when fluttering in the wind.


Shallow, not deep.


A piece of wood in the shape of a shoe, used in fishing the anchor, to prevent the bill from rubbing the planks, or catching the bends.

To shoot a-head

To advance forward.


A general name for the sea-coast of any country.

To shorten sail

Used in opposition to MAKE SAIL.


Large ropes fixed on each side of masts.


A small platted rope made from rope-yarns.


Pieces of wood to put over the sides to hinder any thing from rubbing the sides.


The interval between the flux and reflux of the tide, when no motion is perceptible in the water.


Suspends the yards from the mast.

To slip the cable

To let it run quite out when there is no time to weigh the anchor.

To slue

To turn any cylindrical piece of timber about its axis without removing it. Thus, to SLUE A MAST or BOOM, is to turn it in its cap or boom-iron.


To try the depth of water; also a deep bay.


Pieces of trees as they are cut in the wood.

Spanish burton-windlass

A particular way of setting up the topmast rigging in merchant vessels.

Spear of the pump

The handle of a hand-pump.

To spill the mizen

To let go the sheet, and brail it up.

To spill

To discharge the wind out of the cavity or belly of a sail, when it is drawn up in brails, in order to furl or reef it.


Are ropes contrived to keep the sails from being blown away, when they are clewed up, in blowing weather.


To make two ends of ropes fast together by untwisting them, and then putting the strands of one piece with the strands of the other.


The state of a sail rent by the violence of the wind.

Spoon drift

The distance she runs when scudding without any sail.


The sprinkling of a sea, driven occasionally from the top of a wave.


A spring upon the cable, is a hawser bent to the cable, outside the hawse, taken in at the most convenient part of the ship aft, for the purpose of casting her.


Are rather smaller than the stays, placed above them, and intended to answer the purpose of the stay, if it should be shot away, &c.


Are the tides at new and full moon, which flow highest and ebb lowest.

To sprint a mast, yard, &c

To crack a mast, yard, &c. by means of straining in blowing weather, so that it is rendered unfit for use.

To spring a-leak

When a leak first commences, a ship is said to SPRING A-LEAK.

To spring the luff

A ship is said to SPRING HER LUFF when she yields to the effort of the helm, by sailing nearer to the wind than before.


Two, three, or four rope-yarn twisted together.


Are large pieces of timber which come abaft the pump well.


Is a line that goes round a small barrel, abaft the barrel of the wheel, and coming to the front beam of the poop-deck, moves the tell-tale with the turning of the wheel, and keeps it always in such position as to show the position of the tiller.


Five sail of the line.


A sudden violent blast of wind.


This term is applied to yards that are very long as TAUNT is to high masts.

To square the yards

To brace the yards so as to hang at right angles with the keel.

To stand on

To continue advancing.

To stand in

To advance towards the shore.

To stand off

To recede from the shore.


The right-hand side of the ship, when looking forward.


A ship is said to be on the STARBOARD-TACK when sailing with the wind blowing upon her starboard side.

Starboard the helm!

An order to push the helm to the starboard side.

To stay a ship

To arrange the sails, and move the rudder so as to bring the ship's head to the direction of the wind, in order to get her on the other tack.


When the cable makes the same angle as the stay does.

Stay to

To bring the head of a ship up to the wind in order to tack.


Large ropes coming from the mast heads down before the masts, to prevent them from springing, when the ship is sending deep.


The order to the helmsman to keep the ship in the direction she is going at that instant.


In sailing, is when she is going her right course off the wind.

Steady the ship

That is by running a rope or towling out on either side when at anchor.


The art of directing the ship's way by the movement of the helm.


Such degree of progressive motion of a ship as will give effect to the motion of the helm.


Turning up. The bowsprit sleeves too much, that is, it is too upright.

To stem the tide

When a ship is sailing against the tide at such a rate as enables her to overcome its power, she is said to STEM THE TIDE.


The fore-part of the vessel.


The after-part of a vessel.


A rope confining a ship by her stern to any other ship or wharf.


The farthest a-stern, opposed to HEADMOST.


The motion by which a ship falls back with her stern foremost.


The condition of a ship when she will carry a great quantity of sail without hazard of oversetting. It is used-in opposition to CRANK.


A piece of rope; one end nailed to the yard, in the other a thimble for the horse to reeve in.


Large kind of ropes, which being, fastened to the cable in different places abaft the bitts, are an additional security to the ship at anchor.

To stow

To arrange and dispose a ship's cargo.


One third part of a three-strand rope.


When a vessel is got aground on some rocks, and filled with water.

To stream the buoy

To let it fall from the ship's side into the water, previously to casting anchor.


A term used to the men in a boat, when they should pull strong.

To strike

To lower or let down any thing. Used emphatically to denote the lowering of colours in token of surrender to a victorious enemy.

To strike soundings

To touch ground with the lead, when endeavouring to find the depth of water.


Either rope or iron, which are fixed to blocks or dead eyes to attach them to any thing.

Sued or Sewed

When a ship is on shore, and the water leaves her, she is said to be sued; if the water leaves her two feet, she sues, or is sued, two feet.


The swell of the sea that breaks upon the shore, or on any rock.

To surge the capstern

To slacken the rope heaved round upon it.


The same as hoist.

Sway away

Hoist, used in getting up masts or yards.


A kind of large mop, made of junk, to clean a ship's deck with.


The fluctuating motion of the sea either during or after a storm.


The act of dragging the bight or loose part of a rope along the surface of the ground, in a harbor or road, in order to drag up something lost.

Swift the capstern bars

Is to confine the outward end of the bars one to another, with a rope.


The act of a ship's turning round her anchor at the change of wind or tide.

To tack

To turn a ship about from one tack to another, by bringing her head to the wind.


The act of furling the sails. Used in opposition to SETTING.

Taken a-back

See a-back.


A cloth of canvass covered with tar and saw-dust, or some other composition, so as to make it water-proof.


Improperly, though very generally, used for TIGHT.


High or tall. Particularly applied to masts of extraordinary length.


An instrument which traverses upon an index in the front of the poop deck, to show the position of the tiller.


The turning, or swinging, of a ship round her anchor in a tide-way at the beginning of ebb and flood.






An order to the helmsmen; to keep the ship in her present situation, when sailing with a scant wind.


That part of a river in which the tide ebbs and flows strongly.


A row; as cable-tier, a tier of guns, casks, or a tier of ships, &c.


A place where the tide runs strong.

Tide it up

To go with the tide against the wind.


What the frame is composed of.


A large piece of wood, or beam, put into the head of the rudder, and by means of which the rudder is moved.

Tompion, or Tomkin

The bung, or piece of wood, by which the mouth of the canon, is filled to keep out wet.


Pulling one of the ends of a yard higher than the other.

To tow

To draw a ship in the water by a rope fixed to a boat or other ship which is rowing or sailing on.


A small line cable laid.


A large piece of timber fastened to the stern-posts, to the ends of which the afterpart of the bends are fastened.


To go backwards and forwards.


A ring on the jib boom, or grumet on the backstays, to conduct the top-gallant yards up and down.


A small sail used by brigs and cutters in blowing weather.

Trice, trice up

To haul up and fasten.


The state or disposition by which a ship is best calculated for the purposes of navigation.

To trim the hold

To arrange the cargo regularly.

To trim the sails

To dispose the sails in the best arrangement for the course which a ship is steering.

To trip the anchor

To loosen the anchor from the ground, either by design or accident.

Trough of the sea

The hollow between two waves.

Truck of a gun-carriage

Is the wheel upon which it runs.


A round piece of wood put on the top of flag staffs, with sheaves on each side for the halyards of the flags to reeve in.

Trunnions of a gun

Are the arms, or pieces of iron, by which it hangs on the carriage.


Pieces of timber to fasten the plank to the timbers.


A rope used to keep a yard close to the mast.


The situation in which a ship, in a tempest, lies-to in the trough or hollow of the sea, particularly when the wind blows contrary to her course.

Turning to windward

That operation in sailing whereby a ship endeavours to advance against the wind.


The foremost division of a fleet in one line. It is likewise applied to the foremost ship of a division.


A small kind of flag worn at each mast head.

To veer

To change a ship's course from one tack to the other, by turning her stern to windward.


Let out; as veer away the cable.


Shift. The wind veers, that is, it shifts or changes.

Viol, or Voyal

A block through which the messenger passes in weighing, the anchor. A large messenger is called a viol.

To unballast

To discharge the ballast out of a ship.

To unbend

To take the sails off from their yards and stays. To cast loose the anchor from the cable. To untie two ropes.

To unbit

To remove the turns of the cable from off the bitt.


Is expressed of an anchor that is directly under the ship.


When a ship is loosened from moorings, and is under the government of her sails and rudder.

Under way

The same as UNDER SAIL.

Under the lee of the shore

Is to be close under the shore which lies to windward of the ship.


Cast loose the gasket of the sails.

To unmoor

To reduce a ship to the state of riding at single anchor after she has been moored.

To unreeve

To draw rope from out of a block, thimble, &c.

To unrig

To deprive a ship of her rigging.


The piece of wood by which the legs of the crow-foot are extended.


The path or track impressed on the water by the ship's passing through it, leaving a smoothness in the sea behind it. A ship is said to come into the wake of another when she follows her in the same track, and is chiefly done in bringing ships to, or in forming the line of battle.


Are strong timbers that go round a ship a little above her water-line.




To warp a ship, is to draw her against the wind, &c. by means of anchors and hawsers carried out.


A hawser, or small cable.


The line made by the water's edge when a ship has her full proportion of stores, &c. on board.


The state of a ship when there is barely a sufficient depth of water to float her off from the ground.


The state of a ship become heavy and inactive on the sea, from the great quantity of water leaked into her.


The state of a ship when not leaky.


To weather any thing, is to go to windward of it.


Shattered by a storm.


A turn of the cable about the end of the windlass.


When a ship or fleet is to windward of another, she is said to have the WEATHER-GAGE of her.


That quarter of a ship which is on the windward


The side upon which the wind blows.

To weigh anchor

To heave up an anchor from the bottom.


To bind twine round the ends of ropes, to hinder there from fagging out.

To wind a ship

To change her position, bringing her head where her stern was.


When a ship is at anchor, and the wind, being against the tide, is so strong as to overcome its power, and keep the ship to leeward of her anchor, she is said to be WIND-RODE.

Wind's eye

The point from which the wind blows.

To windward

Towards that part of the horizon from which the the wind blows.

Windward tide

A tide that sets to windward.

To work a ship

To direct the movements of a ship, by adapting the sails, and managing the rudder, according to the course the ship lies to make.

To work to windward

To make a progress against the direction of the wind.


To would, is to bind round with ropes; as, the mast is woulded.


To haul up; as, weigh the anchor.


The motion of a ship when she deviates from to the right or left.


The timbers upon which the sails are spread.



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