Definitions

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

  • v. Variant of bouse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To drink excessively and socially.
  • n. A carouse; a drinking bout; a booze.
  • v. To haul or hoist (something) with a tackle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A carouse; a drinking bout; a booze.
  • intransitive v. To carouse; to bouse; to booze.
  • intransitive v. To pull or haul.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as booze.
  • See bouse.

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

  • v. haul with a tackle

Etymologies

From Middle Dutch busen. (Wiktionary)
Origin unknown. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "Bowse, is chiefly used by the gunners when they haul upon their tackles to thrust a piece gun out of port gun-port, in which case they cry 'Bowse hoa!' i.e. pull more upon the tackle; also when there is occasion to pull more on the tackle than otherwise, they say, 'Bowse upon the tackle!'

    "To Bowse, to pull upon any body with a tackle, or a complication of pullies, in order to remove it, or otherwise alter its state or situtation: this is chiefly practised, when such alteration or removal cannot be conveniently effected without the application of mechanical powers. This term is pronounced bowse, as when they would have the men pull altogether (sic), they cry, 'Bowse away!'"
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 54

    October 14, 2008

  • Double gaskets were passed round the yards, rolling tackles and other gear bowsed taut, and everything made as secure as it could be.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 25

    September 9, 2008

  • "...his business was with the ship's main armament, the two tiers of massive guns, thirty-two pounders, stretching fore and aft in the gloom, bowsed tight up against the side, uttering squeaks and groans as the roll shifted their concentrated three tons an inch or so in spite of the well-heaved frapping."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 56

    February 11, 2008