One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(on a square-rigged sailing ship) an additional sail set at the end of a yard in light winds.
- ‘This means that the reef can be shaken out, the royals and studdingsails can be set.’
- ‘I persuade the Captain to rig and set the main and fore, upper and lower studdingsails.’
- ‘After they passed us by, we set the studdingsail again and continued on our way.’
- ‘Her fore topmasts and yards, studdingsail booms and yards, jibbooms and entire mizzen masts were shot away.’
- ‘Excuse me while I go spread my studdingsails and wet the courses.’
Mid 16th century: studding perhaps from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stōtinge ‘a thrusting’.
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