One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The mast aft of a ship's mainmast.
spar, boom, yard, gaff, foremast, mainmast, topmast, mizzenmast, royal mastView synonyms
- ‘The crew had formed a circle on the deck around the mizzenmast and the captain, whose back was turned to her.’
- ‘Heading aft towards the stern, we found the mizzenmast collapsed, which was why it had not shown up on the sonar.’
- ‘Also, the fore-and-aft sail on the mizzenmast, originally a triangular lateen sail, was changed to accommodate the more modern rig.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The Ocean Gypsy didn't have a mizzen - she was one-masted!’
2The lowest sail on a mizzenmast.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘A gust of wind hit them as the mizzensail was unfurled, followed by the mainsail and the foresail.’
Late Middle English: from Italian mezzana ‘mizzensail’, feminine (used as a noun) of mezzano ‘middle’, from Latin medianus (see median).
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