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bowline

[boh-lin, -lahyn]
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noun
  1. Also called bowline knot. a knot used to make a nonslipping loop on the end of a rope.
  2. Nautical. a rope made fast to the weather leech of a square sail, for keeping the sail as flat as possible when close-hauled.
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Idioms
  1. on a bowline, Nautical. sailing close-hauled.
  2. on an easy bowline, Nautical. close-hauled with sails well filled.
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Origin of bowline

1275–1325; Middle English bouline, equivalent to bou- (perhaps boue bow2) + line line1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bowline

Historical Examples

  • The "Bowline Song" indicated that he was feeling particularly jubilant.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • The dogs' traces should be of skin and fastened with toggles or buttons to the bowline.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • Hence the ship sails on a bowline, or stands on a taut bowline.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • A further involution makes what is termed a bowline on a bight.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The breeze was easterly—a wind which would carry us on a bowline to Jamaica.

    Old Jack

    W.H.G. Kingston


British Dictionary definitions for bowline

bowline

noun nautical
  1. a line for controlling the weather leech of a square sail when a vessel is close-hauled
  2. on a bowline beating close to the wind
  3. a knot used for securing a loop that will not slip at the end of a piece of rope
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Word Origin

C14: probably from Middle Low German bōlīne, equivalent to bow ³ + line 1
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