- the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail.
- to bring the head of a sailing ship closer to or directly into the wind, with sails shaking.
- (of a sail) to shake from being set too close to the wind: The sail luffed as we put about for port.
- to raise or lower the outer end of the boom of a crane or derrick so as to move its load horizontally.
- to set (the helm of a ship) in such a way as to bring the head of the ship into the wind.
- to raise or lower the outer end of (the boom of a crane or derrick).
Origin of luff
Examples from the Web for luffing
After luffing to pick him up, the brigantine had been again pulled off on the port tack.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
I know he is; but in the other race, he lost half his time by luffing up in a squall.The Yacht Club
After the start do not go in for a luffing match or allow yourself to be luffed by a yacht you do not fear.Yachting Vol. 1
Scarcely had he spoken, when the French frigate, luffing up, ran her bows against the quarter of the Isabel.The Heir of Kilfinnan
You must learn how to help her with the helm to take these seas easily, first by luffing and then by bearing away.On Yacht Sailing
Thomas Fleming Day
- nautical the leading edge of a fore-and-aft sail
- tackle consisting of a single and a double block for use with rope having a large diameter
- nautical to head (a sailing vessel) into the wind so that her sails flap
- (intr) nautical (of a sail) to flap when the wind is blowing equally on both sides
- to move the jib of (a crane) or raise or lower the boom of (a derrick) in order to shift a load
Word Origin and History for luffing
c.1200, in sailing, from Old French lof "spar," or some other nautical device, "point of sail," also "windward side," probably from Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch lof "windward side of a ship" (Dutch loef), which might also be the direct source of the English word), from Proto-Germanic *lofo (cf. Old Norse lofi, Gothic lofa "palm of the hand," Danish lab, Swedish labb "paw"), from PIE *lep- "to be flat" (see glove). As a verb from late 14c., from the noun.