Definition of mizzen in English:


(also mizen)


  • 1The mast aft of a ship's mainmast.

    • ‘The Ocean Gypsy didn't have a mizzen - she was one-masted!’
    • ‘Also, the fore-and-aft sail on the mizzenmast, originally a triangular lateen sail, was changed to accommodate the more modern rig.’
    • ‘The crew had formed a circle on the deck around the mizzenmast and the captain, whose back was turned to her.’
    • ‘His square-rigged ship with the cross and bones flying from the mizzenmast was a feared sight in the eyes of captains of merchant barques.’
    • ‘Heading aft towards the stern, we found the mizzenmast collapsed, which was why it had not shown up on the sonar.’
    spar, boom, yard, gaff, foremast, mainmast, topmast, mizzenmast, mizzen, royal mast
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  • 2The lowest sail on a mizzenmast.

    • ‘A gust of wind hit them as the mizzensail was unfurled, followed by the mainsail and the foresail.’
    • ‘On the side farthest from him was the French vessel, ‘Redoubtable’, its mizzen top garnished with sharpshooters about 15 metres from the Admiral.’
    • ‘Bellerophon's main topmast had been shot away and her mizzen topmast was in a precarious state.’
    • ‘Sure, you need to be able to tell the contemporary equivalent of a fore topgallant from a mizzen topsail, but that's what all those seminars and lectures are for.’


Late Middle English: from Italian mezzana mizzensail feminine (used as a noun) of mezzano middle from Latin medianus (see median).