Definition of hawse in English:



  • 1The part of a ship's bows through which the anchor cables pass.

    • ‘The hook held the anchor chain so that it was slack on the bow roller, while the two eye-splices were passed through two hawses.’
    • ‘To see these hawses in use, check out the Titanic sea trial photos.’
    • ‘I need to find a way to make the two anchor chain hawses water tight.’
    • ‘I don't believe anyone makes stainless hawses for these winches, so there is a bit of a gap in the market.’
    1. 1.1 The space between the head of an anchored vessel and the anchors.
      • ‘Nothing would suit Nelson but this four-decked ship, so we crossed the hawse of about six of them, and were abreast of her.’
      • ‘When a ship is moored, she is often thought to be in such a state of security, that the keeping a clear hawse is too often neglected.’
      • ‘I'll teach them to come across my hawse.’


  • foul hawse

    • A situation in which an anchored ship's port and starboard cables are crossed.

      • ‘If a ship is moored too taut she may trip her anchors in the case of a foul hawse.’
      • ‘If you do it this way you won't get a foul hawse.’
      • ‘It is usual to say she has a clear hawse, or a foul hawse.’
      • ‘If she should swing around several times and foul her hawse, the effect on her copper and fastenings would soon tell’


Late Middle English halse, probably from Old Norse háls ‘neck, ship's bow’.