American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A quadrilateral sail extended by a spar running diagonally to the sail's peak.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Nautical:
- n. A sail extended by a sprit, chiefly used in small boats. See sprit, 3.
- n. A sail, no longer in use, attached to a yard slung across the bowsprit of large vessels. It was often pierced with a large hole at each of its lower corners, to let out the water with which the belly of it was frequently filled when the ship pitched. Spritsail topsails and spritsail topgallantsails were also formerly used.
- n. nautical A form of three- or four-sided fore-and-aft sail and its rig, supporting the leech of the sail by means of a sprit.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A sail extended by a sprit.
- n. A sail formerly hung under the bowsprit, from the spritsail yard.
- n. a fore-and-aft sail extended by a sprit
- sprit + sail (Wiktionary)
“The cartilage of their nose is perforated, and a piece of reed, from eight to ten inches long, thrust through it, which seamen whimsically term their spritsail-yard.”
“The bowsprit formerly had one yard, called the spritsail yard.”
“Except a small fillet of grass the natives wore not a particle of clothing, though there were several scarifications on their bodies; and what sailors call a spritsail-yard run through their nostrils which added to the ferocity of their appearance.”
“The spritsail filled with the wind, suddenly, careening the frail open craft till it seemed it would surely capsize.”
“I came on deck to find the Ghost heading up close on the port tack and cutting in to windward of a familiar spritsail close-hauled on the same tack ahead of us.”
“The spritsail flapped emptily and the boat righted to an even keel, causing the two men swiftly to change position.”
“As the spritsail was taken in and the boat headed on to the beach, he was aware of a distinct hurt at sight of Joan at the steering-oar, standing erect and swaying her strength to it as she resisted the pressures that tended to throw the craft broadside in the surf.”
“The exchange was made, and the salmon boat got up its spritsail and headed down the bay toward the marshes off San Rafael.”
“One of the Italians took a turn with it over a cleat, while I hastened to lower our big spritsail.”
“Wherever the spray struck, it turned instantly to frost, and the dipping boom of the spritsail was quickly fringed with icicles.”
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A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
I'm wading through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels one by one, and someday, I'll wade through them again and list all the words I learned while reading them.
Edit: I started ma...
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