Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical The distance between the water line and the freeboard deck of a ship.
  • n. The distance between normal water level and the top of a structure, such as a dam, that impounds or restrains water.
  • n. The distance between the ground and the undercarriage of an automobile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The vertical distance between the waterline and the uppermost watertight deck of a vessel.
  • n. The distance between a water level and the top of something that contains or restrains it (such as a dam).
  • n. The distance between the top of sea ice and the water level.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A margin of ground, specified in some cases as two and a half feet in width, in other cases much more, claimed beyond or outside of a fence which incloses a place, as a park or forest.

Etymologies

Probably ultimately partial translation of Anglo-Norman franc bord, land claimed outside the fence of a park or forest : franc, free + bord, bort, border; see border.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • That she was low "between decks" is demonstrated by the fact that it was necessary to "cut down" the Pilgrims 'shallop -- an open sloop, of certainly not over 30 feet in length, some 10 tons burden, and not very high "freeboard" -- "to stow" her under the MAY-FLOWER'S spar deck.

    The Mayflower and Her Log; July 15, 1620-May 6, 1621 — Complete

  • Cryosat-2 will measure the thickness of floating ice "freeboard" - the bit sticking above the surface - which will enable scientists to calculate the total thickness of floes by adding that to the 7/8ths of ice "draft" which is submerged.

    The Register

  • They will now send their slowest vessels and the ones with the lowest 'freeboard' - the distance from the lowest point of the deck to the waterline - further east.

    Telegraph Major News

  • Differencing these two quantities, following the principle of Archimedes, we arrive at what is called the 'freeboard'.

    RedOrbit News - Technology

  • The system then routes the associated reporting system alert, enhanced over the original alert with other relevant details such as freeboard, speed and communication terminal details, to the relevant naval coordination centre in a digital format the related agencies involved can use.

    Business Weekly daily news

  • The high bow and lots of freeboard have gotten me safely through rough water more than once and create a nicely curved sheer line that gets lots of compliments at various boat ramps.

    Uncategorized Blog Posts

  • Broad of beam, heavily sparred, with high freeboard and bluff, Dutchy bow, the Uncle Toby was the slowest, tubbiest, safest, and most fool-proof schooner David Grief possessed.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • Kennan, a bowline around his body under his arm-pits, lowered by a couple of seamen down the generous freeboard of the Ariel, who gathered in by the nape of the neck the smooth-coated Irish terrier that, treading water perpendicularly, had no eyes for him so eagerly did he gaze at the line of faces along the rail in quest of the one face.

    CHAPTER XX

  • By the time half our company was overboard, the boat had a reasonably high freeboard and was less ticklish to handle in the gusts.

    Chapter 19

  • Sailing boats and small private yachts are very difficult or impossible to secure against pirate attacks due to their low speed and low freeboard, Hansen said.

    Pirate says they'll kill Danish captives if rescue attempted

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