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[kech] /kɛtʃ/
noun, Nautical.
a sailing vessel rigged fore and aft on two masts, the larger, forward one being the mainmast and the after one, stepped forward of the rudderpost, being the mizzen or jigger.
Compare yawl1 (def 2).
See also schooner (def 1), topsail schooner.
Origin of ketch
1475-85; earlier cache, apparently noun use of cache to catch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ketch
Historical Examples
  • "'Ee doan' ketch me tryin' to sail close to Gulf Rock when 'ee can't zee a boat's length ahead," he said, emphatically.

    The Pillar of Light Louis Tracy
  • I want to tell them Injins that this hyer boy will ketch fits if they don't let us be.

    Hope and Have Oliver Optic
  • Tom had no resource left; and, very unwillingly, ketch's details were drawn from him, bit by bit.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • You don't expect to run fast enough to ketch Injuns on hossback—do you?

    Field and Forest Oliver Optic
  • The ketch mainsail is narrow-footed, and longer on the hoist than that of the yawl.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • He'd always get a man on the run; then he'd ketch up and give him a licking.

    Eben Holden Irving Bacheller
  • The kid tried to ketch the attention of maw, but she was sewing, and kept right along, just like he'd been around all day.

    Boy Scouts on a Long Hike Archibald Lee Fletcher
  • Everyone watched breathlessly; and ketch did not breathe at all.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
  • "Assalting me—oh, won't you ketch it," he raged in his puny wrath.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • She examined the top of her own pie herself, to see what ketch could have been looking at.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
British Dictionary definitions for ketch


a two-masted sailing vessel, fore-and-aft rigged, with a tall mainmast and a mizzen stepped forward of the rudderpost Compare yawl1 (sense 1)
Word Origin
C15 cache, probably from cacchen to hunt; see catch
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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Word Origin and History for ketch

kind of small sailing vessel, 1650s, earlier catch (mid-15c.), cache (late 14c.), probably from Middle English cacchen "to capture, ensnare, chase" (see catch). Cf. the sense development in yacht.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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