American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The principal mast of a sailing vessel.
- n. The taller mast, whether forward or aft, of a two-masted sailing vessel.
- n. The second mast aft of a sailing ship with three or more masts.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Nautical, the principal mast in a ship or other vessel. In three-masted vessels it is the middle mast; in a vessel carrying two masts it is the one toward the stern, except in the yawl, galiot, and ketch, where it is the mast toward the prow; in four-masted ships it is the second mast from the bow.
- n. plural The lower topmast and topgallantmasts of the mast next abaft the foremast.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Naut.) The principal mast in a ship or other vessel.
- n. the chief mast of a sailing vessel with two or more masts
“The mainmast was a wreck; the shrouds on the port side having been torn from the gunwale the second day of the storm, and the entire deck was one mass of debris and wreckage.”
“If we attempt it, Sir, we shall lose them, for a man aloft can do nothing; besides their being down would ease the ship very little; the mainmast is a sprung mast; I wish it was overboard without carrying any thing else along with it; but that can soon be done, the gale cannot last for ever; 'twill soon be daylight now.”
Thrilling Narratives of Mutiny, Murder and Piracy A weird series of tales of shipwreck and disaster, from the earliest part of the century to the present time, with accounts of providential escapes and heart-rending fatalities.
“At the top of the mainmast is a fighting top from which project two large spears.”
“Fastened by chains to the mainmast were a number of grisly staghounds, who now began leaping and barking at me, and by the mizzen a huge puma was cramped in a little iron cage far too small even to give it turning room.”
“The hooker needed no looking after in such weather as this, and the only individual, beside ourselves, abaft the mainmast was the helmsman.”
“Paul did not think so; but he made no reply to the angry man, though he ordered the alleged culprit to the mainmast, which is the locality of the high court on shipboard.”
“At the dark end of the first day we returned, exhausted, to our little cove, towing the mainmast behind us.”
“I can see it now, the water-tank, the mainmast, the gang hanging on to him, the hatchet descending on the back of his head, and all under the blazing sunlight.”
“The fifth sailor, rifle in hand, was standing guard by the water-tank just for'ard of the mainmast.”
“I knew it, and without one serious hitch, I had the mainmast stepped.”
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Nice ambient words from the movie. (With apologies to Patrick O'Brian.) Aaaah, life at sea...aboard a hulk of the British navy in 1805...
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