One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A device towed behind a boat at a depth regulated by its vanes or planes, so that the cable to which it is attached can cut the moorings of submerged mines.
- ‘However, upon closer inspection it turned out to be a paravane, a towed device used for sweeping moored mines.’
Early 20th century: from para- ‘protecting’+ vane.
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