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[boh-suh n; spelling pronunciation boht-sweyn] /ˈboʊ sən; spelling pronunciation ˈboʊtˌsweɪn/
a warrant officer on a warship, or a petty officer on a merchant vessel, in charge of rigging, anchors, cables, etc.
Also, bo's'n, bosun.
Origin of boatswain
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50, boatswain is from the late Middle English word bote-swayn. See boat, swain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for boatswain


a petty officer on a merchant ship or a warrant officer on a warship who is responsible for the maintenance of the ship and its equipment
Word Origin
Old English bātswegen; see boat, swain
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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Word Origin and History for boatswain

mid-15c., from late Old English batswegen, from bat "boat" (see boat (n.)) + Old Norse sveinn "boy" (see swain). Phonetic spelling bo'sun is attested from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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