Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical A rope attached to the weather leech of a square sail to hold the leech forward when sailing close-hauled.
  • n. A knot forming a loop that does not slip.
  • idiom on a bowline Nautical Close-hauled.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a knot tied so as to produce an eye or loop in the end of a rope; it will not slip or jam

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rope fastened near the middle of the leech or perpendicular edge of the square sails, by subordinate ropes, called bridles, and used to keep the weather edge of the sail tight forward, when the ship is closehauled.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, a rope leading forward and fastened to the leech of a square sail.
  • n. In ship-building, a curve representing a vertical section of the bow-end of a ship.

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

  • n. a loop knot that neither slips nor jams

Etymologies

Middle English bouline, probably from Middle Danish bovline or Middle Low German bōlīne, both from Middle Low German bōch līne : bōch, bow, line (from Latin līnea; see line1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • A loop knot used by boaters to make a secure loop at the end of a rope. It doesn't slip or bind under load and can be untied easily with no load. Two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes.

    January 9, 2008