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90s Slang You Should Know


[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
  • The wind still increasing, at seven the first reef in the mainsail was also taken in, jibs shifted, and the bowsprit reefed.

  • He has put her before the wind, and is trying to hoist his mainsail.

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

    On Yacht Sailing Thomas Fleming Day
  • "Those canvas straps with which the mainsail is tied up," he explained.

    Desk and Debit Oliver Optic
  • The mainsail was a big stretch of canvas and carried a main-boom sixty-five feet long.

    The Viking Blood Frederick William Wallace
  • The mainsail was still up, and taking the helm, I ran the yacht up the lagoon.

    Desk and Debit Oliver Optic
  • The second shot from the latter was well directed; it grazed our mast and carried away the luff of the mainsail.

  • As it was, there was little amiss, beyond the wreck of the mainsail.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Two or three times Mr. Robert heads the Pyxie up into it and debates about takin' in the mainsail.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • The clew of the mainsail was lashing about wildly in the gale.

    The Two Whalers W.H.G. Kingston
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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