Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[kok-suh n, -sweyn] /ˈkɒk sən, -ˌsweɪn/
the steersman of a racing shell.
a person who is in charge of a ship's boat and its crew, under an officer, and who steers it.
Also, cockswain.
Origin of coxswain
late Middle English
First recorded in 1425-75, coxswain is from the late Middle English word cokeswayne. See cockboat, swain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for coxswain
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The coxswain of the gig had been previously cautioned not to allow the instructor to handle the yoke-lines again.

    The Dreadnought of the Air Percy F. Westerman
  • The officers of the club shall consist of a coxswain, as president, and a clerk.

    The Boat Club Oliver Optic
  • The coxswain, in obedience to his orders, accompanied me to the Blue Post.

    Peter Simple Frederick Marryat
  • According to the constitution you must all obey the coxswain.

    The Boat Club Oliver Optic
  • "Near it," says the coxswain (and now sounds a blast of his whistle).

    Merchantmen-at-Arms David W. Bone
  • "If I were coxswain, I would let you land," said Charles sulkily.

    The Boat Club Oliver Optic
  • It consisted of ten men, the coxswain, the midshipmen, and Harry.

  • "Tim will get his revenge upon us for this morning if he can," suggested the coxswain.

    The Boat Club Oliver Optic
  • The coxswain then went forward and helped with the baling, while the men recommenced rowing in silence.

    The Black Bar George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for coxswain


/ˈkɒksən; -ˌsweɪn/
the helmsman of a lifeboat, racing shell, etc Also called cockswain
Word Origin
C15: from cock a ship's 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for coxswain

early 14c., "officer in charge of a ship's boat and its crew," from cock "ship's boat" (from Old French coque "canoe") + swain "boy," from Old Norse sveinn "boy, servant" (see swain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for coxswain

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for coxswain

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for coxswain