from The Century Dictionary.
- noun Nautical, something very long: as, his yarn was as long as the maintop-bowline.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The fable of the Tortoise and the Hare affords but a feeble simile to characterize such a match; and before old Hard-a-weather and his gasket had reached the yard-arm, our nimble Mona had trotted half-way up the leach of the topsail, and was seated as familiarly on the bridle of the maintop-bowline, as if he had been perched on the feathery branch of a cocoa-nut tree, enjoying the sea breeze, in his native island, amongst the beautiful Cape de Verdes.
a drove of beeves, but is soon undeceived by the crack of the lash -- "long as the maintop-bowline" -- striking against the side of a lagging bullock.