Definitions

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

  • noun plural (Naut.) A frame of two strong timbers fixed perpendicularly in the fore part of a ship, on which to fasten the cables as the ship rides at anchor, or in warping. Other bitts are used for belaying (belaying bitts), for sustaining the windlass (carrick bitts, winch bitts, or windlass bitts), to hold the pawls of the windlass (pawl bitts) etc.

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

  • noun nautical A frame composed of two strong oak timbers (bitt-heads) fixed vertically in the fore part of a ship, bolted to the deck beams to which are secured the cables when the ship rides to anchor

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See reference.

Examples

  • The cable was then well stoppered at the "bitts," and unshackled; and two men stationed at the stopper, with axes, and the order to cut the lashings, instantly, when so ordered; the fore-staysail was loosed, and hands stationed at the halliards; and the chief engineer directed to keep up a full head of steam.

    The Narrative of a Blockade-Runner

  • But Coutlass solved it in another way by jumping overboard, over his head in deep water, taking our hempen warp with him (I had made one end of it fast to the bitts, meaning to be able to find it in the dark).

    The Ivory Trail

  • But Coutlass solved it in another way by jumping overboard, over his head in deep water, taking our hempen warp with him (I had made one end of it fast to the bitts, meaning to be able to find it in the dark).

    The Ivory Trail

  • "bitts," a strong iron structure placed between the hawse and navel

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 "Bulgaria" to "Calgary"

  • But the anchors held, and so nobly that our final anxiety was that the for'ard bitts would be jerked clean out of the boat.

    SMALL-BOAT SAILING

  • I, too, by this time, was standing on the big hawser-bitts in a position to see a man in the water who seemed deliberately swimming away from the ship.

    CHAPTER III

  • I am safe in London, and have had several bitts of good fortune;

    Letter 30

  • While this was being done, the boat plied back and forth between the two vessels, passing a heavy hawser, which was made fast to the great towing-bitts on the schooner's forecastle-head.

    The Lost Poacher

  • Her for'ard bitts, foremast, and most of her bow were gone, having been jerked out of her by her anchors.

    THE PEARLS OF PARLAY

  • Contact you dream? you listen? spoken word? jerry bitts | teeth

    jerry bitts | teeth « poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground

Comments

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  • "...roused out the best cable the Diane possessed, the most nearly new and unfrayed, a seventeen-inch cable that they turned end for end—no small undertaking in that confined space, since it weighed three and a half tons—and bent it to the best bower anchor by the wholly unworn end that had always been abaft the bitts: the bitter end. There was thought to be good luck attached to the bitter end, as well as greater strength."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Thirteen Gun Salute, 299

    See also bitt.

    March 5, 2008