American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of numerous hauling or lifting machines consisting essentially of a horizontal cylinder turned by a crank or a motor so that a line attached to the load is wound around the cylinder.
- v. To raise with a windlass.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A hand or power machine for drawing a package of staves together to form a barrel.
- n. A winding or turning; a circuitous course; a circuit.
- n. Any indirect, artful course; circumvention; art and contrivance; subtleties.
- To take a circuitous path; fetch a compass.
- To adopt a circuitous, artful, or cunning course; use stratagem; act indirectly or warily.
- To bend; turn about; bewilder.
- n. A modification of the wheel and axle, used for raising weights, etc. One kind of windlass is the winch used for raising water from wells, etc., which has an axle turned by a crank, and a rope or chain for raising the weight by being wound round the axle. A simple form of windlass, much used in ships for raising the anchors or obtaining a purchase on other occasions, consists of strong beam of wood placed horizontally, and supported at its ends by iron spindles which turn in collars or bushes inserted in what are termed the windlass-bitts. This large axle is pierced with holes directed toward its center, in which long levers or handspikes are inserted for turning it round when the anchor is to be weighed or any purchase is required. It is furnished with pawls to prevent it from turning backward when the pressure on the handspikes is intermitted. Different arrangements of gearing are applied to a windlass to exert increased power, and steam-windlasses, in which a small steamengine is made to heave the windlass round, have come largely into use. Compare
capstan(with cut), and cut under winch.
- n. A handle by which anything is turned; specifically, a winch-like contrivance for bending the arbalist or crossbow. See crossbow.
- To use a windlass; raise something as by a windlass.
- To hoist or haul by means of a windlass.
- n. Any of various forms of winch, in which a rope or cable is wound around a cylinder, used for lifting heavy weights
- v. To raise with, or as if with, a windlass; to use a windlass.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A winding and circuitous way; a roundabout course; a shift.
- v. obsolete To take a roundabout course; to work warily or by indirect means.
- n. A machine for raising weights, consisting of a horizontal cylinder or roller moving on its axis, and turned by a crank, lever, or similar means, so as to wind up a rope or chain attached to the weight. In vessels the windlass is often used instead of the capstan for raising the anchor. It is usually set upon the forecastle, and is worked by hand or steam.
- n. obsolete An apparatus resembling a winch or windlass, for bending the bow of an arblast, or crossbow.
- v. To raise with, or as with, a windlass; to use a windlass.
- n. lifting device consisting of a horizontal cylinder turned by a crank on which a cable or rope winds
- Middle English windels or windas, Old Norse vindass, from vinda ("to wind") + ass ("pole"). Confer Icelandic vindilass. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English wyndlas, alteration of windas, from Old Norse vindāss : vinda, to wind + āss, pole. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I remember when I was a little girl back on the farm in the Souris Valley, I used to water the cattle on Saturday mornings, drawing the water in an icy bucket with a windlass from a fairly deep well.”
“Round its sheave the rope should be passed, and then should go down from the top, and back to the windlass, which is at the bottom of the machine, and there be fastened.”
“The Spanish windlass, which is used in surgery for controlling haemorrage, seemed to me to be applicable for fastening scions in place.”
“The song of the sailor at the windlass is a song of fellowship; an expression of the deepened consciousness of strength and exhilaration which come from standing together in a joint putting forth of strength.”
“A somewhat important piece of circumstantial evidence came to light during the late restoration, namely a windlass close to the pier on the north side of the supposed original site of the altar, which was possibly intended to raise and lower a baldichino, or ciborium that hung originally over the altar, or still more probably the pyx, which as many instances show was usually suspended above it.”
“I only have 3 needs for 3P, namely the windlass, capstan, and dive compressor.”
“Confidently anticipating the best results, I erected a crude kind of windlass, and fitted it with a green-hide rope and a bucket made by scooping out a section of a tree.”
“The catapult which the Carthaginians used was not the little implement that a boy uses nowadays; it was a big kind of windlass, by which a number of ropes were twisted up tightly till they acted as a spring to a strong wooden arm at the end of which was a leather cup.”
“Confidently anticipating the best results, I erected a crude kind of windlass, and fitted it with a green - hide rope and a bucket made by scooping out a section of a tree.”
“The little crevices and inequalities which serve as foot-holes are in places so far apart that it is like going up the steps of the Great Pyramid; and but for Giuseppe, who goes first in order to do duty as a kind of windlass, the writer, for one, would certainly never have surmounted the barrier.”
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