Definition of halyard in US English:



  • A rope used for raising and lowering a sail, spar, flag, or yard on a sailing ship.

    • ‘If the mast was not unstepped, sailboat owners should check the halyards.’
    • ‘On those boats that have internal halyards, all halyards (except, again, the main) should be disconnected from the deck and hauled through until the shackles are two-blocked at the masthead.’
    • ‘All stays, halyards and standing rigging are adjustable with tiny turubuckles, and four AA batteries power the servos and eight batteries run the hand control unit.’
    • ‘At daybreak, I found Jonathan hopping around the deck with halyards and ropes.’
    • ‘All halyards and sail controls are led aft to the cockpit concealed under fiberglass panels so that there is nothing to foul or trip over.’


Late Middle English halier, from hale + -ier. The change in the ending in the 18th century was due to association with yard.