Definition of mainsail in English:



  • 1The principal sail of a ship, especially the lowest sail on the mainmast in a square-rigged vessel.

    • ‘Hornblower watched as both ships backed the mainsails, turned the helm hard over, and took up the prescribed position.’
    • ‘These mainsails are the more traditional mainsail cut with short length battens and slab reefing.’
    • ‘As the galley righted itself, another wave struck from the other side, and the ship heeled over so far its mainsail almost touched the water.’
    • ‘These days, the majority of new mainsails are designed with a loose-footed arrangement.’
    • ‘While the mainsail provides a large portion of power, it also affects the boat's directional control.’
    1. 1.1The sail set on the after side of the mainmast in a fore-and-aft-rigged vessel.