One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1historical The sailors stationed on the quarterdeck and poop of a sailing ship, charged with operating the sails and other equipment aft of the mainmast. Now chiefly historical.
2historical The officers on a ship. Now chiefly historical.
3US Originally US. On a large racing yacht: the crew members responsible for tactics and strategy, usually positioned towards the rear of the boat.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Female Soldier. From after- + guard.
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