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

  • n. Nautical A small two-masted sailing vessel, used especially on canals in the Low Countries.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small two-masted merchant vessel, fitted only for coasting, or for use in canals, as in Holland.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small two-masted merchant vessel, fitted only for coasting, or for use in canals, as in Holland.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small merchant vessel with two masts, and the mainsail bent to the whole length of a yard, hanging fore and aft, and inclined to the horizon at an angle of about 45 degrees, the foremost lower corner, called the tack, being secured to a ring-bolt in the deck, and the after most, or sheet, to the taffrail.


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

Dutch billander, probably from binlander, inlander, from binnenlander : binnen, within (from Middle Dutch; see en in Indo-European roots) + land, land; see lendh- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Dutch bijlander; bij by + land land, country.


  • The bilander was a good sizable object, and not to hit her anywhere would be too bad.

    Mary Anerley : a Yorkshire Tale

  • [Footnote 3: A bilander was a small two-master, with the mainsail of lateen form.] [Footnote 4: The _Lisbon Merchant_, Captain Porteen.

    Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period Illustrative Documents

  • The poor old bilander had made herself such a hole in the shingle that she rolled no more, but only lifted at the stern and groaned, as the quiet waves swept under her.

    Mary Anerley

  • For this gallant lieutenant, slanting toward the bows of the flying bilander, which he had no hope of fore-reaching, trained his long swivel-gun upon her, and let go — or rather tried to let go — at her.

    Mary Anerley

  • “I am sorry to be troublesome, Mynheer Van Dunck, but I can not say good-by without having your receipt in full for the old bilander.”

    Mary Anerley

  • There were three craft, all of different rig — a schooner, a ketch, and the said bilander.

    Mary Anerley

  • “Well, mynheer, you have only to pay the difference, and the ketch will do; the bilander sails almost as fast.”

    Mary Anerley

  • John Gristhorp, of the “Ship Inn,” at Filey, had turned out his visitors, barred his door, and was counting his money by the fireside, with his wife grumbling at him for such late hours as half past ten of the clock in the bar, that night when the poor bilander ended her long career as aforesaid.

    Mary Anerley

  • For a while the bilander seemed to mean to try it, for she carried on toward the central cruiser as if she had not seen one of them.

    Mary Anerley

  • They called her “the lugger,” though her rig was widely different from that, and her due title was “bilander.”

    Mary Anerley


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "'So that is a schooner,' said Martin... 'How can you tell?'

    "'It has two masts...'

    "'But brigs, ketches, bilanders, galliots, and doggers also have two masts. What is the difference?'

    "'Curlews and whimbrels have a general similarity, and both have two wings; yet to any but the most superficial observer there is an evident difference.'

    "'There is the difference of size, eye-stripe, and voice.'

    "'...The accustomed eye... at once distinguishes the equivalent of eye-stripes, wing-bars, and semi-palmated feet.'

    "'Perhaps I shall come to it in time... But there are also luggers, bean-cods and herring-busses.'"

    —Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 70

    February 27, 2008

  • A small European merchant ship with two masts, used in the Netherlands for coast and canal traffic. Sometimes seen in the North Sea but more frequently in the Mediterranean Sea.

    November 3, 2007