Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb At right angles to the keel of a ship.
  • preposition Alongside or at right angles to.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nautical, in or into a direction at right angles to the keel of a ship; directly opposite the middle part of a ship's side, and in line with its main-beam: as, we had the wind abeam.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb (Naut.) On the beam, that is, on a line which forms a right angle with the ship's keel; opposite to the center of the ship's side.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adverb at right angles to the length of a ship or airplane

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

a- (“in the direction of”) +‎ beam (“keel”)

Examples

  • Sailboats move fastest with the wind coming from "abeam" or the side.

    Fore, right!

  • Sailboats move fastest with the wind coming from "abeam" or the side.

    Fore, right!

  • Sailboats move fastest with the wind coming from "abeam" or the side.

    Fore, right!

  • Sailboats move fastest with the wind coming from "abeam" or the side.

    Fore, right!

  • Fakarava, and we'll go in through the passage full-tilt, the wind abeam, and every sail drawing.

    THE SEED OF McCOY

  • We were already under way, all sails set and drawing, and the sheets being slacked off for a wind abeam, as the last boat lifted clear of the water and swung in the tackles.

    Chapter 25

  • In the course of half an hour she worked off till the wind was directly abeam.

    CHAPTER XLIII

  • It was merely a stiff breeze, and the Uncle Toby, filling away under her storm canvas till the wind was abeam, sloshed along at a four-knot gait.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • Then, when she had paid off till the wind was abeam, by reversing the wheel hard across to the opposite hard-over I could take advantage of her momentum away from the wind and work her off squarely before it.

    CHAPTER XLVII

  • The wind being abeam, was what had saved the men crowded aft.

    THE SEED OF McCOY

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