Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. At right angles to the keel of a ship.
  • prep. Alongside or at right angles to: The ship drew abeam the cove.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. On the beam, that is, on a line which forms a right angle with the ship's keel; opposite to the center of the ship's side.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Nautical, in or into a direction at right angles to the keel of a ship; directly opposite the middle part of a ship's side, and in line with its main-beam: as, we had the wind abeam.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. at right angles to the length of a ship or airplane

Etymologies

a- (“in the direction of”) +‎ beam (“keel”) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sailboats move fastest with the wind coming from "abeam" or the side.

    Fore, right!

  • In the course of half an hour she worked off till the wind was directly abeam.

    CHAPTER XLIII

  • Then, when she had paid off till the wind was abeam, by reversing the wheel hard across to the opposite hard-over I could take advantage of her momentum away from the wind and work her off squarely before it.

    CHAPTER XLVII

  • The wind being abeam, was what had saved the men crowded aft.

    THE SEED OF McCOY

  • Fakarava, and we'll go in through the passage full-tilt, the wind abeam, and every sail drawing.

    THE SEED OF McCOY

  • We were already under way, all sails set and drawing, and the sheets being slacked off for a wind abeam, as the last boat lifted clear of the water and swung in the tackles.

    Chapter 25

  • It was merely a stiff breeze, and the Uncle Toby, filling away under her storm canvas till the wind was abeam, sloshed along at a four-knot gait.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • Grief watched the Willi-Waw haul up close, go out the passage, then slack its sheets as it headed south with the wind abeam.

    A SON OF THE SUN

  • It was only next day, when Wainwright Island loomed to windward, close abeam, that Wolf Larsen opened his mouth in prophecy.

    Chapter 16

  • Did they attempt to make it, we could haul after them with the wind abeam, and overtake them before they had covered an eighth of the distance.

    THE SIEGE OF THE 'LANCASHIRE QUEEN'

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