• synonyms

deck hand

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  1. Nautical. a sailor whose duties are performed on deck.

Origin of deck hand

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for deckhand

Historical Examples

  • One of them was the boatswain Caine, the other a deckhand by the name of Johnson.

    The Pirate of Panama

    William MacLeod Raine

  • Behind her, ready to follow her if must be, a deckhand waited with her luggage.

    Under the Country Sky

    Grace S. Richmond

  • "Some fool that doesn't know how to sail a boat, I guess," said the other deckhand.

    Randy of the River

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • "Now be good, or I'll shove a few of your teeth down your throat," said the deckhand.

    Randy of the River

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • "Maybe he wants to get you discharged," answered the other deckhand.

    Randy of the River

    Horatio Alger Jr.

British Dictionary definitions for deckhand

deck hand

  1. a seaman assigned various duties, such as mooring and cargo handling, on the deck of a ship
  2. (in Britain) a seaman over 17 years of age who has seen sea duty for at least one year
  3. a helper aboard a yacht
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

Word Origin and History for deckhand


1844, American English, from deck (n.) + hand (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper