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

  • n. Nautical A rope or set of ropes for hauling down or securing a sail or spar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any rope used to haul down a sail or spar

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rope to haul down, or to assist in hauling down, a sail

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, a rope by which a jib, staysail, gaff-topsail, or studding-sail is hauled down when set.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I ran forward and had the downhaul of the flying jib all in and fast as we slipped by the boat a hundred feet to leeward.

    Chapter 25

  • The cap at the mainmast head was broken out, and sheet and downhaul pulled flat, amid a scattering rifle fire from the boats; and the

    Charley's Coup

  • No sooner, too, had the hands jumped into the rigging and the studdingsail halliards and tacks been cast off by the watch on deck and the downhauls and sheets manned, than the "first luff," pitching his voice to yet a higher key, sang out in rapid sequence, "Topmast stu'ns'l downhaul -- haul taut -- clew up -- all down!"

    Crown and Anchor Under the Pen'ant

  • The fore-staysail, which had only recently been hoisted when the studding-sails were set, being now found to be in the way of getting in the anchors, as it prevented the hands from working freely, Mr Marline ordered the downhaul to be manned as soon as the halliards were cast - off.

    The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea

  • Some of you brail up the spanker here and man the jib downhaul.

    The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea

  • Two blasts of the whistle fetches the watch out, and "Stand by topsail halyards," "In inner jib," sends one hand to one halyard, the midshipman of the watch to the other, and the rest on to foc'stle and to the jib downhaul.

    The Worst Journey in the World Antarctic 1910-1913

  • Birdie lashed the full biscuit tin to the door to prevent its flapping, and also got what he called the tent downhaul round the cap and then tied it about himself outside his bag: if the tent went he was going too.

    The Worst Journey in the World Antarctic 1910-1913

  • The clicking of the sheaves in the blocks as the sails ran down, head - sails first, was music to her; and she detected on the instant the jamming of a jib-downhaul, and almost saw the impatient jerk with which the sailor must have cleared it.

    A Discourse on Manners

  • Waiting for a good opportunity, the halyards were manned and the yard hoisted fairly up to the block; but when the mate came to shake the catspaw out of the downhaul, and we began to boom-end the sail, it shook the ship to her centre.

    Chapter XXXIII. Cracking on-Progress Homeward-A Pleasant Sunday-A Fine Sight-By-Play

  • Another one must go: I was near the mate, and sprang forward, threw the downhaul over the windlass, and jumped between the knight-heads out upon the bowsprit.

    Chapter V. Cape Horn-A Visit


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