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[fawr-seyl, fohr-; Nautical fawr-suh l, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌseɪl, ˈfoʊr-; Nautical ˈfɔr səl, ˈfoʊr-/
noun, Nautical.
the lowermost sail on a foremast.
the staysail or jib, set immediately forward of the mainmast of a sloop, cutter, knockabout, yawl, ketch, or dandy.
Origin of foresail
First recorded in 1475-85; fore- + sail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for foresail
Historical Examples
  • Priscilla, on her knees under the foresail, tugged at the anchor rope.

    Priscilla's Spies George A. Birmingham
  • As the jib and foresail were taken off her, she shot up to the buoy.

    The Three Commanders W.H.G. Kingston
  • The foresail only was set, to prevent the ship from striking with too great force.

    The Settlers William H. G. Kingston
  • He had the weather-gage, and his foresail was now drawing well.

    Freaks of Fortune Oliver Optic
  • Boom—The spar used to extend the foot of the mainsail or foresail.

    On Yacht Sailing Thomas Fleming Day
  • We turned to and got the foresail aft, and made a kind of roof of it.

    Heroes of the Goodwin Sands Thomas Stanley Treanor
  • A knife drawn across the fore halyards would bring the foresail down, and put an end to our liberty in twenty minutes.

    The Mirror of the Sea Joseph Conrad
  • “Our foresail has departed for Africa,” Miss West laughed in my ear.

  • The vessel then luffed into the wind, in defiance of the helm, and the first shake of the foresail stripped it from the bolt rope.

    Sea Stories Various
  • Right through the foresail, sir, and the skipper knows what we mean.

    Hunting the Skipper George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for foresail


/ˈfɔːˌseɪl; nautical ˈfɔːsəl/
noun (nautical)
the aftermost headsail of a fore-and-aft rigged vessel
the lowest sail set on the foremast of a square-rigged vessel
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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