Definitions

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

  • n. A spar or derrick with a block at one end, used for stowing cargo.
  • transitive v. To stow or pack (cargo) in the hold of a ship.
  • n. The angle formed by the bowsprit and the horizon or the keel.
  • transitive v. To incline (a bowsprit) upward at an angle with the horizon or the keel.
  • intransitive v. To have an upward inclination. Used of a bowsprit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To project upward, or make an angle with the horizon or with the line of a vessel's keel; -- said of the bowsprit, etc.
  • n. The angle which a bowsprit makes with the horizon, or with the line of the vessel's keel; the steeving.
  • n. A spar, with a block at one end, used in stowing cotton bales and similar cargo needing to be packed tightly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The angle which a bowsprit makes with the horizon, or with the line of the vessel's keel; -- called also steeving.
  • n. A spar, with a block at one end, used in stowing cotton bales, and similar kinds of cargo which need to be packed tightly.
  • intransitive v. To project upward, or make an angle with the horizon or with the line of a vessel's keel; -- said of the bowsprit, etc.
  • transitive v. To elevate or fix at an angle with the horizon; -- said of the bowsprit, etc.
  • transitive v. To stow, as bales in a vessel's hold, by means of a steeve. See Steeve, n. (b).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Stiff; firm; unbending or unyielding.
  • To stiffen: as, to be steeved with cold.
  • Nautical, to project from the bows at an angle instead of horizontally: said of a bowsprit.
  • Nautical, to give a certain angle of elevation to: as, to steeve a bowsprit.
  • To stuff; cram; pack firmly and tightly.
  • Nautical, to stow, as cargo in a vessel's hold, by means of a steeve or a jack-screw.
  • n. Nautical, the angle of elevation which the bowsprit makes with the horizon.
  • n. A long derrick or spar, with a block at one end, used in stowing cargo.

Etymologies

From Middle English steven, to stow, probably from Old Spanish estibar, to steeve, or from Old Catalan stivar, both from Latin stīpāre.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • Having filled the ship up, in this way, to within four feet of her beams, the process of steeving began, by which a hundred hides are got into a place where scarce one could be forced by hand, and which presses the hides to the utmost, sometimes starting the beams of the ship,-- resembling in its effects the jack-screws which are used in stowing cotton. Each morning we went ashore, and beat and brought off as many hides as we could steeve in a day, and, after breakfast, went down into the hold, where we remained at work until night, except a short spell for dinner.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 29

    September 9, 2008

  • "'She was always over-masted; and even now I cannot congratulate her on her botched-together bowsprit. Marsham has always over-steeved his bowsprits.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 2

    Marsham. Huh. That loser.

    March 20, 2008

  • "'Yes,' said Jack, 'and you will see the extraordinary merits of a running bowsprit. When she pitches like this'—the table took on a forward slope of twenty-five degrees, their hands automatically securing the toast—'the bowsprit does not stab into the sea and snap off short or at the very least check her way.'

    "'How can this be achieved, for all love?'

    "'Since a cutter's bowsprit has no steeve, since it is horizontal, it can be run on deck,' they told him kindly."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Thirteen Gun Salute, 90

    March 3, 2008