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[meyn-seyl; Nautical meyn-suh l] /ˈmeɪnˌseɪl; Nautical ˈmeɪn səl/
noun, Nautical.
the lowermost sail on a mainmast.
Origin of mainsail
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1425-75; See origin at main1, sail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mainsail
Historical Examples
  • A mainsail carried by a gaff has two halyards, the throat and peak.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • The other two sides of the mainsail are then laid off and pencil lines drawn.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • You will note that allowance must be made for hemming the back edge of the mainsail.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • I'll try and set the mainsail on her with the remains of the sprit.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • I've been dreamin' o' night-shirts ever since we bent our mainsail.

    "Captains Courageous" Rudyard Kipling
  • "She'll go a bit tauter still, I think," he said, as Nell hoisted the mainsail.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills

    Charles Garvice
  • The mainsail was set to a chorus like the crying of sea fowl and the foresail and jib.

    The Beach of Dreams H. De Vere Stacpoole
  • I ordered the jib and mainsail to be taken in, and the helm to be put down.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • No mistakes or omissions had been made, and he proceeded to hoist the mainsail.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • A bilander was a small two-master, with the mainsail of lateen form.

British Dictionary definitions for mainsail


/ˈmeɪnˌseɪl; nautical ˈmeɪnsəl/
(nautical) the largest and lowermost sail on the mainmast
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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