from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A strong shutter or plate fastened over a ship's porthole or cabin window in stormy weather.
  • noun A thick window set in a ship's side or deck.
  • noun A skylight constructed so that it cannot be opened.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical, a strong wooden or iron shutter fastened over a cabin-window or port-hole in rough weather to prevent water from entering.
  • noun A luminous appearance sometimes observed over putrescent animal bodies.

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

  • noun (Naut.) A strong shutter, made to fit open ports and keep out water in a storm.

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

  • noun nautical A strong shutter fitted over a porthole etc. that can be closed in bad weather

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

  • noun a strong shutter over a ship's porthole that is closed in stormy weather


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • She lay with him one afternoon, when a scrap of sunlight spearing through a chink in the scuttle's deadlight was scribing an oval shape on the opposite bulkhead, and she mentally added up the number of rooms in her Lincolnshire house.

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

  • Grace lay beside him, gazing up at the deck, listening to the hiss of rain falling on the deadlight of the cabin's scuttle.

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

  • They are certainly particular about showing light after dark; by 6 p.m. all port-holes are closed, and every cabin has its iron deadlight down.

    The Incomparable 29th and the "River Clyde"

  • Do not allow a man to go on deck, nor to open a deadlight.

    On a Torn-Away World Or, the Captives of the Great Earthquake

  • I heard the cook close the door behind me and bolt it and cover the deadlight with a tin pan.

    The Mutineers

  • It was hot in the room, and rather dark, as the deadlight to the poop-deck was fogged by sea water.

    Isle o' Dreams

  • The brick wall of the Customs House, held from collapsing by a row of rusty iron stars, seemed to bulge more than its wont for the moment -- its upper window, a ship's deadlight, round and expressionless as the eye of a codfish.

    The Best Short Stories of 1921 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story

  • When all hands were called, I rubbed my eyes in astonishment, for as I glanced out of the deadlight near which my hammock swung, I saw that we were under way and well out to sea.

    A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee"

  • The four changed from the window to the deadlight, and watched the approaching disk with every bit of the excitement and interest they had felt when nearing Mercury.

    The Lord of Death and the Queen of Life

  • As the cube settled slowly to the ground, the adventurers left the deadlight to use the windows.

    The Lord of Death and the Queen of Life


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  • In Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883), the pirates use "deadlights" to mean "eyes."

    "The same broadside I lost my leg, old Pew lost his deadlights." -- ch. 11

    "I saw him dead with these here deadlights." -- ch. 31

    February 10, 2019

  • A steel or alloy cover plate fitted internally to portholes for protection against water ingress in case of glass failure.

    August 25, 2009