Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The block through which a messenger passes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See viol, 2.
  • n. The block through which a messenger passes.

Etymologies

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  • "... a large rope used to unmoor, or heave up the anchors of a ship, by transmitting the effort of the capstan to the cables.

    "This is performed by fastening one part of the voyol to the cable in several places, and by winding another part thereof three or four times round the capstan, which answers the same purpose as if the cable itself were in that manner wound about the capstan; and the voyol being much lighter, and more pliant, is infinitely more convenient for the operation....

    "If the cable is drawn into the ship by the main-capstain, the voyol is used without any block: but if the capstan in the fore part of the ship be employed for this purpose, the voyol usually passes through a large block attached to the mainmast; and thence communicates with the jear capstan."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 610

    October 12, 2008

  • I love sentences like this: "We shall weigh with a voyol to the jeer-capstan." It's English, and yet I understand only the sentence structure. ;-)

    February 24, 2008

  • "...new pawls would have to be shaped, hammered, tempered just so and fitted; but this would take hours and they would lose not only the tide but the promising little air that was stirring the pennant. 'No,' said Jack. 'We shall weigh with a voyol to the jeer-capstan.' ... Mr Hollar had always served in modern ships and he had never weighted with a voyol: indeed it was an antiquated practice."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 237

    February 23, 2008