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

  • adv. Behind a vessel.
  • adv. At or to the stern of a vessel.
  • adv. With or having the stern foremost; backward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Beyond the stern when viewed from aboard.
  • adj. behind

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In or at the hinder part of a ship; toward the hinder part, or stern; backward.
  • adv. Behind a ship; in the rear.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • At or toward the hinder part of a ship: as, to go astern.
  • Behind, at any indefinite distance: as, the ship was far astern of us.
  • In the direction of the stern; backward; back; to the rear: said of a ship: as, the current drove us far astern.

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

  • adv. (of a ship or an airplane) behind
  • adv. stern foremost or backward
  • adv. at or near or toward the stern of a ship or tail of an airplane


This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)


  • "Glad to hear it," returned the other, who could read our name astern as she lay athwart us.

    The Ghost Ship A Mystery of the Sea

  • I demanded: but the next moment I heard his call astern and knew that, monkey-like, he had got her over and was aboard her somehow.

    The Lady and the Pirate Being the Plain Tale of a Diligent Pirate and a Fair Captive

  • 'midship-house, and Charles Davis lies about him nursing a marlin-spike, and Christian Jespersen, miles astern, is deep sunk in the sea with a sack of coal at his feet.


  • 'midship-house, and Charles Davis lies about him nursing a marlin - spike, and Christian Jespersen, miles astern, is deep sunk in the sea with a sack of coal at his feet.

    Chapter 16

  • By all rules of tactical common-sense it would seem that the other ships should have taken their distance from their next astern, that is, should have closed toward the centre.

    The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783

  • The rudder is gone, and we have sprung a leak astern which is more than we can stop.


  • Only a very few of these, of course, lay anywhere near the city's direct line - of flight-indeed, many of them were scattered "astern" (that is, under the keel of the city), in the imaginary - hemisphere on the other side of his home Sun.

    Cities In Flight

  • The word "astern" was given as soon as the harpoon was thrown.

    The Von Toodleburgs Or, The History of a Very Distinguished Family

  • Besides these she possessed two "astern" turbines and two cruising turbines -- all four on the wing shafts.

    The Wreck of the Titan or, Futility

  • "We have one good boat left, the new yawl at the booms: the others, as you know, are washed away, with the exception of the little boat astern, which is useless, as she is knocked almost to pieces.

    Masterman Ready The Wreck of the "Pacific"


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