Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various types of small cranes that project over the side of a ship and are used to hoist boats, anchors, and cargo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the sides of the ship.
  • n. a crane, often working in pairs and usually made of steel, used to lower things over an edge of a long drop off, such as lowering a maintenance trapeze down a building or launching a lifeboat over the side of a ship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the sides of the ship; -- called also the fish davit.
  • n. Curved arms of timber or iron, projecting over a ship's side of stern, having tackle to raise or lower a boat, swing it in on deck, rig it out for lowering, etc.; -- called also boat davits.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, one of a pair of projecting pieces of wood or iron on the side or stern of a vessel, used for suspending or lowering and hoisting a boat, by means of sheaves and pulleys.

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

  • n. a crane-like device (usually one of a pair) for suspending or lowering equipment (as a lifeboat)

Etymologies

Middle English daviot, from Norman French daviot, diminutive of Davi, David.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • "He peered into the mirror, improving himself, unaware of me as he worked in the half-shadow of the lifeboat which hung from the davit."
    "The Cat's Table" by Michael Ondaatje, in the May 16, 2011 issue of The New Yorker, p 111

    May 23, 2011

  • (a) A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow, without injuring the sides of the ship; -- called also the fish davit.

    (b) pl. Curved arms of timber or iron, projecting over a ship's side of stern, having tackle to raise or lower a boat, swing it in on deck, rig it out for lowering, etc.; -- called also boat davits.

    (Cf. F. davier forceps, cooper's instrument, G. david davit; all probably from the proper name David.)

    - Webster 1913

    July 9, 2007