Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical A stay for racing or cruising vessels used to steady the mast against the strain of the gaff.
  • n. Nautical A rope, rod, or batten along the upper side of a yard, gaff, or boom to which a sail is fastened.
  • n. Nautical A rope or rod running vertically on the forward side of the mast on which the yard moves.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stay (rope, bar or batten), running along a ship's yard, to which is attached the head of a square sail.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rail of wood or iron stretching along a yard of a vessel, to which the sails are fastened.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical: One of a set of ropes, iron rods, or strips of wood attached to a yard or gaff for bending a square sail to.
  • n. A rod or rope running up and down on the forward side of a mast, on which the square-sail yard travels; a traveler.

Etymologies

Jack +‎ stay (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I screwed round a bit, holding the jackstay with one hand, and steadying the insensible Ordinary with the other.

    The Ghost Pirates

  • At his touch, as though by magic, the young fellow calmed down, and Stubbins — reaching round him — grasped the jackstay on the other side.

    The Ghost Pirates

  • And the ice on spar and jackstay, and the cracking, volleying sail,

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, August 4th, 1920

  • Pulling myself along the jackstay until I reached the bunt, I managed to grasp a line that was tailing taut downward toward the deck.

    Mr. Trunnell, Mate of the Ship "Pirate"

  • Jackson, who was outside of me, gripped the jackstay and threw his feet around the yard-arm which was springing and jumping away at a terrific rate with the shock of the cracking topsail.

    Mr. Trunnell, Mate of the Ship "Pirate"

  • The damaged net was taken away and one of the old service grummet nets slung in its place, the cylinders containing the gun cotton being attached to the jackstay immediately in front of the battered sides, and 30 feet from the hulk, and sunk to a distance of 20 feet below the water line, which would bring it about opposite the bend of the bilge.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 601, July 9, 1887

  • I put my left arm round the Ordinary's body -- getting hold of the jackstay on the other side.

    The Ghost Pirates: Chapter 9

  • At his touch, as though by magic, the young fellow calmed down, and Stubbins -- reaching round him -- grasped the jackstay on the other side.

    The Ghost Pirates: Chapter 9

  • I had traced out bit by bit, until now I could clearly see the jackstay, running along the top of the royal mast; and, you know, the royal itself was set.

    The Ghost Pirates: Chapter 15

  • The jackstay was torn from his grasp, and he fell, face downward, into the black void beneath.

    "Where Angels Fear to Tread" and Other Stories of the Sea

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