Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical Pig iron used as permanent ballast.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Weights (often scrap or pig iron) used as permanent ballast on ships.
  • n. A system of weights (usually concrete or cast-iron blocks) used for load-testing piled foundations.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Pigs of iron used for ballast.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, pig-iron laid in the hold of a ship for ballast. Also kintledge.
  • n. In the British service, condemned shot, shell, and similar unserviceable articles.

Etymologies

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

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French quintelage ("ballast")

Examples

  • In the planked room, or magazine, were placed one hundred barrels of gunpowder in bulk; and on the deck, immediately above the powder, were laid fifty thirteen-and-a-half-inch shells, and one hundred nine-inch shells, with a large quantity of shot, pieces of kentledge, and fragments of iron of different sorts.

    The Naval History of the United States Volume 1 (of 2)

  • The upper part of the netting was weighted with kentledge, the pigs of iron used for ballast; so that, should the hardy assailants succeed in coming alongside and scaling the side, a few blows of an axe would let fall the heavily weighted nettings, sweeping the boarders into the sea, and covering boats and men with an impenetrable mesh, under which they would be at the mercy of the sailors on the frigate's decks.

    The Naval History of the United States Volume 1 (of 2)

  • Cold shot and kentledge were dashed upon the boats, in the hopes of sinking them; while the carronades poured a destructive fire upon such boats as could be reached by their shot.

    The Naval History of the United States Volume 1 (of 2)

  • She is ballasted with utilities; not altogether with unusable pig-lead and kentledge.

    Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

  • Write half a dozen folios full of other people's ideas (as all folios are pretty sure to be), and you serve as ballast to the lower shelves of a library, about as like to be disturbed as the kentledge in the hold of a ship.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • My breast has felt the last four-and-twenty hours as if a ton of kentledge had been stowed in it.

    Pathfinder; or, the inland sea

  • a rope left hanging over the sides; the boarding nettings, boiled in half-made pitch till they were as hard as wire, were triced outboard toward the yard arms, and loaded with kentledge to fall on the attacking boats when the tricing lines were cut, while the carronades were loaded to the muzzle with musket balls, and depressed so as to sweep the water near the ship.

    The Naval War of 1812 Or the History of the United States Navy during the Last War with Great Britain to Which Is Appended an Account of the Battle of New Orleans

  • "We should have sunk into English mud, for eternity, as sure as our metal and kentledge would have taken us down," responded Tom; "such a point-blanker would have torn off a streak of our wales, outboard, and not even left the marines time to say a prayer!

    The Pilot

Comments

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  • The Ship of State's rules can be dull;

    There's ballast that lards its deep hull.

    A certain percentage

    Is no more than kentledge

    And not worth the work to annul.

    May 25, 2016

  • "Kentledge, a term used to signify pigs of iron for ballast, which are laid upon the floor, near the keelson, fore and aft."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 210

    See also pigs of ballast.

    October 14, 2008

  • She is ballasted with utilities; not altogether with unusable pig-lead and kentledge.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 87

    July 26, 2008