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

  • n. A narrow rectangular sail set from extensions of the yards of square-rigged ships.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sail set beyond the leeches of some of the principal squaresails during a fair wind, very seldom used.


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

Origin unknown.


  • Chase ordered a double rum ration, hung out a larger studdingsail that the sailmaker had stitched, and watched the Revenant on the north-western horizon.

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

  • Another hole appeared in the Pucelle's foresail, a studdingsail boom was shot away, a crash sounded close to the larboard water line and another enemy shot bounced across the swells to leave a trail of foam close on the starboard side.

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

  • That ship, by far the closest to the French and Spanish line, looked bedraggled, for her studdingsail yards had been shot away and the sails hung like broken wings beside her rigging.

    Sharpe's Trafalgar

  • No sooner, too, had the hands jumped into the rigging and the studdingsail halliards and tacks been cast off by the watch on deck and the downhauls and sheets manned, than the "first luff," pitching his voice to yet a higher key, sang out in rapid sequence, "Topmast stu'ns'l downhaul -- haul taut -- clew up -- all down!"

    Crown and Anchor Under the Pen'ant

  • By these being acted on, the wind was first "spilled" out of the three topsails, which were then lowered on the caps; and, the studdingsail booms being triced up to their usual place when not set, in the topmost rigging, the men were able to go out on the yards and commence reefing in earnest.

    Crown and Anchor Under the Pen'ant

  • Her great lower studdingsail swept out from her side for all the world like a butterfly-net, raking the top of the sea for us.

    Jim Davis

  • Now they stripped for the tussle to windward around Cape Horn, sending down studdingsail booms and skysail yards, making all secure with extra lashings, plunging into the incessant head seas of the desolate ocean, fighting it out tack for tack, reefing topsails and shaking them out again, the vigilant commanders going below only to change their clothes, the exhausted seamen stubbornly, heroically handling with frozen, bleeding fingers the icy sheets and canvas.

    The Old Merchant Marine; A chronicle of American ships and sailors

  • Therefore, all these circumstances coming to my mind in a flash, I jumped to the wheel and helped Chips to put it hard up again, luckily managing to get the little hooker before the wind once more with no further damage than the loss of a studdingsail-boom and the splitting of the lower studdingsail.

    Turned Adrift

  • The result of this caution on their part soon became apparent, for we had scarcely fired a dozen shots when we saw the stranger's fore-topmast go swooping over the bows; and the next minute she broached-to, losing her main-topgallant-mast and snapping every one of her studdingsail booms in the process.

    A Middy of the King A Romance of the Old British Navy

  • It was during one of these wild sheers that the main topgallant studdingsail-boom snapped short off by the boom-iron; and there was immediately a tremendous hullabaloo aloft of madly slatting canvas and threshing boom, as the studdingsail flapped furiously in the freshening breeze, momentarily threatening to spring the topgallant yard, if, indeed, it did not whip the topgallant-mast out of the ship.

    Overdue The Story of a Missing Ship


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  • Another usage note on moonraker.

    February 27, 2008

  • "At four bells in the afternoon watch, or two by the clocks in the town, Jack was sitting in front of a small looking-glass in his sleeping cabin with a freshly-laundered cravat the size of a topgallant studdingsail spread out ready to be folded about his neck..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 57

    February 20, 2008