Definitions

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

  • n. A warrant officer or petty officer in charge of a ship's rigging, anchors, cables, and deck crew.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The officer (or warrant officer) in charge of sails, rigging, anchors, cables etc. and all work on deck of a sailing ship.
  • n. The petty officer of a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen.
  • n. A kind of gull, the jaeger.
  • n. The tropicbird.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An officer who has charge of the boats, sails, rigging, colors, anchors, cables, cordage, etc., of a ship, and who also summons the crew, and performs other duties.
  • n.
  • n. The jager gull.
  • n. The tropic bird.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A subordinate officer of a ship, who has charge of the rigging, anchors, cables, and cordage.
  • n. A jäger or skua; any bird of the genus Lestris or Stercorarius.
  • n. A name of birds of the genus Phaëthon. See tropic-bird.

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

  • n. a petty officer on a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen

Etymologies

Middle English botswein : bot, boat; see boat + swein, mate; see swain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
boat +‎ swain (“boy, servant”) (Wiktionary)

Examples

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