Definition of hawse in English:



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

    • ‘To see these hawses in use, check out the Titanic sea trial photos.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I don't believe anyone makes stainless hawses for these winches, so there is a bit of a gap in the market.’
    • ‘I need to find a way to make the two anchor chain hawses water tight.’
    1. 1.1 The space between the head of an anchored vessel and the anchors.
      • ‘I'll teach them to come across my hawse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nothing would suit Nelson but this four-decked ship, so we crossed the hawse of about six of them, and were abreast of her.’


  • foul hawse

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

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


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