Definitions

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

  • noun Pig iron used as permanent ballast.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

  • noun (Naut.) Pigs of iron used for ballast.

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

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

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

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

    Moby Dick; or the Whale

  • 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)

  • 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)

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

    Moby Dick: or, the White Whale

  • 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

  • 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.

    The Poet at the Breakfast-Table

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

    Moby-Dick, or, The Whale

  • 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

Comments

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

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 87

    July 26, 2008

  • "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

  • 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