from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A large triangular sail set on a spar that swings out opposite the mainsail, used on yachts when running before the wind.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A supplemental sail to the main sail, especially a triangular one, used on yachts for running before the wind.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A large triangular sail set upon a boom, -- used when running before the wind.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A jib-headed racing-sail carried by yachts, set, when running before the wind, on the side opposite to the mainsail.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a large and usually triangular headsail; carried by a yacht as a headsail when running before the wind
Perhaps ultimately from Sphinx, name of the first yacht to use such a sail, or spin, to move rapidly (variant of Scots spene, to run before the wind; see spindrift).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)