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[fawr-stey, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌsteɪ, ˈfoʊr-/
a stay leading aft and upward from the stem or knightheads of a vessel to the head of the fore lower mast; the lowermost stay of a foremast.
a stay leading aft and upwards toward the mainmast of a sloop, knockabout, cutter, ketch, yawl, or dandy.
Origin of forestay
First recorded in 1325-75, forestay is from the Middle English word forstay. See fore-, stay3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for forestay
Historical Examples
  • A lantern was hoisted on the forestay, and all hands were soon asleep.

    Little By Little William Taylor Adams
  • So saying, Tom Virtue took his place in the bow, holding on by the forestay.

    Among Malay Pirates G. A. Henty
  • Hoisted well up, as it should be, right under the forestay, it is high enough to catch the wind between the seas.

    Yachting Vol. 1 Various.
  • Her spinnaker bellied against the topmast stay and forestay, and formed at once a backsail, if anything.

    Yachting Vol. 1 Various.
  • A lamp hung on the forestay as a beacon for the boats and one could see the sweep of planks and line of the rail.

    Wyndham's Pal Harold Bindloss
  • The three who escaped and afterwards gave evidence, saved themselves by climbing up the forestay and hiding in the top.

    Ti-Ping Tien-Kwoh Augustus F. Lindley
  • Two engineers sawed nearly through the mast at its base, while the others cleared away the light shrouds and forestay.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • A little above her forestay a small window, uncurtained and brightly lit, broke the long stretch of featureless black wall.

    Shining Ferry

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • The next moment he had reached out a hand, caught hold of the One-and-All's forestay, and swung himself out into the darkness.

    Shining Ferry

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Then the lantern in the forestay bobbed down and up, and he came back to where Trask stood.

    Isle o' Dreams Frederick F. Moore
British Dictionary definitions for forestay


(nautical) an adjustable stay leading from the truck of the foremast to the deck, stem, or bowsprit, for controlling the motion or bending of the mast
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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