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

  • adverb Across a ship from side to side.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Athwart the ship; crosswise of the ship.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adverb nautical Across the vessel sideways, i.e. in a direction at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the vessel.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From athwart ("across") + ship + -s as an adverbial ending.


  • It was long after once there was a lealand in the luffing ore it was less after lives thor a toyler in the tawn at all ohr it was note before he drew out the moddle of Kersse by jerkin his dressing but and or it was not before athwartships he buttonhaled the

    Finnegans Wake

  • The bunk should not be too wide: one rolls so in rough weather; of course it should not be athwartships, if avoidable.

    A First Year in Canterbury Settlement

  • At all times except when whales were alongside, this bench was securely lashed athwartships against the rear of the

    Moby Dick; or the Whale

  • An athwartships support that holds the shrouds away from the mast.

    Sailing Fundamentals

  • The line used to control the forward or athwartships movement of a sail.

    Sailing Fundamentals

  • There are, I believe, two common layouts -- in one case there is just one main fuel tank, athwartships and attached to the for'ard bulkhead, with a generator or generators on one side of the engine and batteries on the other, plus a water-tank to port and another to starboard: or there could be a fuel tank on either side with the water-tank up front.


  • Others again DID reach the upper decks, found their way to the nearest fore or aft lifeboat blocked by rolls of athwartships barbed wire, and went below again to find some passage which would bring them up to a lifeboat no further away than twenty yards from where they stood.

    The Lonely Sea

  • Drives were at the ends of cross-bars athwartships amidship, turning the dumbbell into a giant jack.

    Passage at Arms

  • Nor was the Matapan so little: she was at least forty feet long, twin-masted, with curious athwartships and fore-and-aft rails just above the height of a tall man's head.

    Fear is the Key

  • There were raised trapdoors with large clips which stuck out at all angles, there were fore-and-aft and athwartships pipes of every conceivable size and at every conceivable height, there were valves, big wheels for turning those valves and nasty knobbly ventilators, and I don't think I missed one of all of those, with my head, kneecaps or shins, on the way aft.

    Fear is the Key


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  • Somehow I knew the bear would be here.

    April 12, 2012

  • "...and Jack Aubrey, a Tory, a man who liked old ways and old wine, one of the comparatively few officers of his seniority who still wore his hair long, clubbed at the back of his neck, and his cocked hat athwartships in the Nelson manner rather than fore and aft, was the last to fly in the face of tradition."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 89–90

    February 20, 2008