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90s Slang You Should Know


[bak-stey] /ˈbækˌsteɪ/
Machinery. a supporting or checking piece in a mechanism.
Building Trades. an anchored tension member, as a cable, permanently or temporarily supporting a compression member, as a tower or pole, subject to a pull above its base from the opposite direction.
a strip of leather at the back of a shoe used for reinforcement and sometimes to connect the quarters.
Origin of backstay1
First recorded in 1860-65; back1 + stay2


[bak-stey] /ˈbækˌsteɪ/
Nautical. any of various shrouds forming part of a vessel's standing rigging and leading aft from masts above a lower mast to the sides or stern of the vessel in order to reinforce the masts against forward pull.
First recorded in 1620-30; back1 + stay3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for backstay
Historical Examples
  • I accordingly slung the glass over my shoulder, swung myself off the yard on to the backstay, and so descended to the deck.

    A Pirate of the Caribbees Harry Collingwood
  • In my fall I grappled with the backstay, and brought myself up, and landed on the cross-trees.

  • I felt at times willing to quit my feeble hold of a backstay or shroud, and seek repose by diving into the briny billows beneath.

    Jack in the Forecastle John Sherburne Sleeper
  • It is kept steady by a backstay on each side of the foretopmast-stay.

  • Cut away a brace or a backstay, now, aboard that Frenchman, and away would go a whole heap of his canvas.

    Under the Meteor Flag Harry Collingwood
  • They climbed everywhere, up or down, on a sail or its leach, a single rope or a backstay.

    The Grain Ship Morgan Robertson
  • He kept his clutch on the backstay with the dizzy notion that this saved him from clutching some one's throat.

  • But Ulysses lashed the keel to the mast with the backstay, and on these he sat, borne by the winds across the sea.

    Stories of the Old world Alfred John Church
  • A piece of iron used instead of a chain to confine the dead-eye of the backstay to the after-channel.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Just as he spoke, Tommy Rebow was hunting the animal from shroud to backstay, up over the mast-head and down again.

    Sunshine Bill W H G Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for backstay


(nautical) a stay leading aft from the upper part of a mast to the deck or stern
(machinery) a supporting piece or arresting part
anything that supports or strengthens the back of something, such as leather covering the back seam of a shoe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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