Definition of bowsprit in US English:



  • A spar extending forward from a ship's bow, to which the forestays are fastened.

    • ‘The chain hung straight down from the chock of the bowsprit and although our flags above flickered in the breeze, the water lay unruffled.’
    • ‘There are substantial bulwarks around the side and forward decks for secure footing, and a large foredeck locker, with the anchors stowed on the bowsprit.’
    • ‘They saw the top main mast fall, could see the billowing smoke from her starboard side, and the bowsprit of another ship sticking beyond her stern.’
    • ‘Without the support of the bowsprit, the long spar that extends forward from the bow of the ship, there was no support for the masts.’
    • ‘Hedera stood at the bowsprit of the ship, as still as the bolted-down bench she was standing on.’
    • ‘In early 2002, HMS Rose had to be delivered down the East Coast, through the Panama Canal to a dry dock in San Diego and en route had a bowsprit damaged in a hurricane off Cape Hatteras.’
    • ‘She had swum to the bowsprit and climbed back on board.’
    • ‘The bark is 42 metres long from her bowsprit to her stern, has a beam of almost ten metres and a draught of just under four metres.’
    • ‘She went as far forward as she could, to the very bowsprit of the ship.’
    • ‘But I have a hard time looking at other boats, especially those with exposed planking, a bowsprit and her sheerline.’
    • ‘I hung over the side of the pulpit and saw that the bobstay chain was shackled to the end cap on the bowsprit, so I hunted up a wrench and another shackle.’
    • ‘Her bowsprit carries two foresails, and her large mainsail is gaff rigged, with an upside-down triangle of topsail to fill the gap at the masthead.’
    • ‘After dinner, the two went on deck to walk arm in arm from the quarter-deck to the bowsprit and back again.’
    • ‘Adrianna was standing on the forecastle deck near the bowsprit of the ship, staring out at the crashing waves and crystal clear water.’
    • ‘She has 27 sails in a frigate rig on three masts and a bowsprit, with a total surface area of 2,683 square metres.’
    • ‘Next we had to set the course sail, the top sail of the forward mast, then the foresails out over the bowsprit.’
    • ‘Ashtalán smiled as she watched him go, and then leaped nimbly from the deck to the bowsprit.’
    • ‘When I got back to the ship, I shimmied up the bowsprit, the long point off the front of the ship.’
    • ‘I saw the familiar black hull, the bowsprit, the gaff rig, the extraordinary long boom that overhung the stern by a good ten feet, the varnished spars, and the wood rings that held the mainsail to the mast.’
    • ‘If brute force isn't your forte, you're also encouraged to take the helm, visit the engine room or walk out on the bowsprit.’
    prow, front, forepart, stem, rostrum, ram, nose, head, cutwater
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Middle English: from Middle Low German bōgsprēt, Middle Dutch boechspriet, from boech ‘bow’ + spriet ‘sprit’.