Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An instrument formerly used at sea for taking the altitudes of heavenly bodies, later replaced by the sextant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument formerly used at sea for taking the altitudes of heavenly bodies, now superseded by the sextant; -- called also cross-staff.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as cross-staff, 1.

Etymologies

fore- +‎ staff (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Schouten and other heroic marine worthies of distant times had navigated the globe, discovered new worlds, penetrated into the most secret solitudes of the deep without any notion of longitude and with no better instruments to take the sun's height than the forestaff and astrolabe.

    The Frozen Pirate

  • Here also our gunner took an observation with his forestaff, to determine our latitude, and he found now, that having marched about thirty-three days northward, we were in 6 degrees 22 minutes south latitude.

    The Life, Adventures & Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton

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