Definitions

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

  • noun a petty officer on a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen; a contraction of boatswain.

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

  • noun A warrant or petty officer on board a naval ship.

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

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Contraction of boatswain.

Examples

  • A bosun is a person who gives -- who blows a whistle to give orders to the other sailors.

    The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory & the American Revolution

  • Her father was, as she always put it, "in the King's Navy," and he had been "bosun" to a ship's

    The Adventure of Living : a Subjective Autobiography

  • The wind that had roared all night lay quelled by the headland; the bosun grew too sleepy to shout.

    Excerpt: The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert Redick

  • Jackie-Jackie, a Tongan sailor of experience, served as a sort of bosun and semi-second mate over the mixed Kanaka crew.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • By mid-afternoon, in a huge sea, with the wind after its last shift no more than a stiff breeze, the Tongan bosun sighted a schooner bottom up.

    A LITTLE ACCOUNTWITH SWITHIN HALL

  • "Nancy -- my bosun; ain't he a peach?" was the answer I got, and from the mate's manner of enunciation I was quite aware that "Nancy" had been used derisively.

    CHAPTER V

  • One old man, who I learned was a bosun, was so decrepit that I thought he had been recently injured.

    CHAPTER II

  • Beneath the third is the bosun, the leader of the able-bodied seamen and the foreman who actually puts the mate's orders into effect.

    'A Captain's Duty'

  • Beneath the third is the bosun, the leader of the able-bodied seamen and the foreman who actually puts the mate's orders into effect.

    'A Captain's Duty'

  • Beneath the third is the bosun, the leader of the able-bodied seamen and the foreman who actually puts the mate's orders into effect.

    'A Captain's Duty'

Comments

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  • I always thought this was spelled "boatswain" but pronounced "bosun." (Like coxswain.)

    February 11, 2008