One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fitting on the deck of a barge or wherry to which the foot of the mast is fixed, allowing the mast to be lowered by pivoting when passing under bridges.
- ‘The single mast was stepped in a lutchet, braced to the main beam at deck level by shrouds, and secured at the keelson.’
- ‘Presently being fitted out in Goole, the Lutchet and Mast Beam is now in place although the first sailing date is a long way off in the future.’
Early 19th century: perhaps from the northern English dialect verb lutch ‘lift’, or an alteration of latchet.
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