from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Nautical, sails set forward of the foremast.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Mr. Van Weyden, stand by to pass the head-sails over.

    Chapter 17

  • The wind was now dead astern, muttering and puffing stronger and stronger, and my head-sails were pounding lustily.

    Chapter 17

  • Forward, though they could not see them, they knew that the head-sails were still drawing.


  • At the first sign of bare sand we got under way, under mizzen and head-sails only, and I learned how to sail a reluctant anchor out of the ground.

    The Riddle of the Sands

  • When going into action for a bombardment, the fore-rigging must be come up on the side where the mortar is to be used, the fore-topmast sent down, foresail unbent, boom and gaff laid on deck, rigging lashed in close to the mast, head-sails to be thoroughly wetted, spring on the cable, boats lowered from the side davits, and all the hatches covered with tarpaulins.

    Ordnance Instructions for the United States Navy. 1866. Fourth edition.

  • The enemy appeared in great confusion, being reduced to his head-sails, going with the wind on the quarter.

    The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, Volume 2

  • "Helm's a-lee!" then came from aft, followed by the orders "Tacks and sheets!" and "Mainsail haul!" when, the _Josephine's_ bows paying off under the influence of the tacked head-sails, the yards were swung round in a trice; and, within less than five minutes the vessel was retracing the same track she had just gone over in quest of the missing man.

    The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea

  • At the end of a swift half-mile she rounded to, with head-sails trimming down and with a great flapping of main and mizzen, and dropped anchor in fifty feet of water so clear that every huge fluted clamshell was visible on the coral floor.

    Chapter 10

  • When the American consul left the ship Matt Peasley was on the poop bawling orders; up on the topgallant forecastle the capable Mr. Murphy and his bully boys were walking around the windlass to the bellowing chorus of Roll A Man Down! while the boatswain, promoted by Matt Peasley to second mate, was laying aloft forward shaking out the topsails and hoisting her head-sails.

    Cappy Ricks Or, the Subjugation of Matt Peasley

  • The air of wind which Peter had promised, drawn from its cave by the lure of the departing sun, was filling our head-sails.

    Our Casualty, and Other Stories 1918


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