Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical A light rope made of two loosely twisted strands.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A light rope, used to prevent the ends of larger ropes from fraying.
  • v. To wind marline around.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small line composed of two strands a little twisted, used for winding around ropes and cables, to prevent their being weakened by fretting.
  • transitive v. To wind marline around.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as marl.
  • n. Nautical, small cord used as seizing-stuff, consisting of two strands, loosely twisted.

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

  • n. a small usually tarred line of 2 strands

Etymologies

Middle English, from Middle Dutch marlijn, alteration (influenced by lijn, line) of marling, from marren, to tie.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French merliner. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A rope was lowered with a hook upon the end of it; to the hook a canvas bag was lashed with marline.

    In Spite of Their Declaration of Bombs

  • The British were still seven to one; their carronades, loaded with marline-spikes, swept the gun-deck, of which we had possession, and decimated our little force; when a rifle-ball from the shrouds of the

    Novels by Eminent Hands

  • If he thinks there's even a chance you're going to lay for him with a marline spike, he'll back off of you.

    Ship Of Magic

  • And it was inconceivable that she would have gone - the Charlotte Meiner I knew would have clobbered you over the head with a marline spike.

    When Eight Bells Toll

  • When a uniformed policeman shoves his uniformed cap above your gunwale in the dark watches of the night, you don't whack him over the head with a marline-spike.

    When Eight Bells Toll

  • Every day we read of outrageous assaults upon him with marline-spikes and other perverted marine stores, by brutal skippers and flagitious mates, whose proper end would be the yard-arm and the rope's end.

    Punchinello, Volume 1, No. 01, April 2, 1870

  • It was blowing 'great guns and marline-spikes' from the S.S.W. with tremendous sea on Feb. 7, 1865, when there was seen in the rifts of the storm a full-rigged ship on the Goodwin Sands.

    Heroes of the Goodwin Sands

  • Of course I assisted him as well as I could under the circumstances, but as he limped along towards the companion-hatchway, the leader of the desperadoes, that villainous "marquis," who I thought had met with his just deserts long since, not having seen him for some little time among the other fighters, most unexpectedly jumped from the rigging in front of the colonel and aimed a vindictive blow at him with a marline-spike.

    The Ghost Ship A Mystery of the Sea

  • "Blatheration!" exclaimed my chum, smacking the butt of his rifle on the deck and making the petty officer who was on the other side of the hatchway jump round in a jiffy, looking marline-spikes in our direction.

    Young Tom Bowling The Boys of the British Navy

  • The course of instruction embraces a short review of arithmetic, grammar, and geography, a thorough drill in marline-spikework, handling sails, boats, oars, etc.

    Harper's Young People, November 11, 1879 An Illustrated Weekly

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