Definitions

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

  • noun The section of the upper deck of a ship located at the bow forward of the foremast.
  • noun A superstructure at the bow of a merchant ship where the crew is housed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical: That part of the spar-deck which lies forward of the fore rigging.
  • noun A section of a merchant vessel where the seamen live, either a house on deck or a place below the spar-deck in the eyes of the ship.

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

  • noun A short upper deck forward, formerly raised like a castle, to command an enemy's decks.
  • noun That part of the upper deck of a vessel forward of the foremast, or of the after part of the fore channels.
  • noun In merchant vessels, the forward part of the vessel, under the deck, where the sailors live.

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

  • noun nautical A raised part of the upper deck at the front of a ship.
  • noun nautical Crew's quarters located at the forward part of a ship.

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

  • noun living quarters consisting of a superstructure in the bow of a merchant ship where the crew is housed

Etymologies

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

[Middle English forecastel : fore-, fore- + castel, fortification; see castle.]

Examples

  • But I will say, contrary to my expectations, the Elsinore's forecastle is well found.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • But I will say, contrary to my expectations, the Elsinore's forecastle is well found.

    Chapter 17

  • Inside the forecastle was the galley (or ship's kitchen) and quarters for such people as the boatswain, the carpenter, the cook and the master-archer.

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  • The forecastle was a wild litter of spilt food and paraffin, lamps, unwashed dishes, tins of food, petrol-cans, ropes, sails, and gear.

    What Happened to the Corbetts

  • The forecastle was a wild litter of spilt food and paraffin, lamps, unwashed dishes, tins of food, petrol-cans, ropes, sails, and gear.

    What Happened to the Corbetts

  • Before I shipped that young fellow, my forecastle was a rat-pit of quarrels.

    Billy Budd

  • The Chancellor's hull is three-fourths immerged; besides the three masts and the bowsprit, to which the whale-boat was suspended, the poop and the forecastle are the only portions that now are visible; and as the intervening section of the deck is quite below the water, these appear to be connected only by the framework of the netting that runs along the vessel's sides.

    The Survivors of the Chancellor

  • Between these and the forecastle was the “between-decks, ” as high as the gun deck of a frigate; being six feet and a half, under the beams.

    Chapter XXII. Life on Shore-The Alert

  • The sick man whom they had left in the forecastle was a new hand who had shipped at Kingston.

    Keziah Coffin

  • There were also on each side of this deck, cabins for the marine soldiers, and twenty stables for horses; in the forecastle was a fresh-water cistern which held 253 hogsheads; and near it was a large tank of sea-water, in which fish were kept.

    Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 3 of 8 A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more than 200 of the most prominent personages in History

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