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[mast-hed, mahst-] /ˈmæstˌhɛd, ˈmɑst-/
Also called flag. a statement printed in all issues of a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually on the editorial page, giving the publication's name, the names of the owner and staff, etc.
Also called nameplate. a line of type on the front page of a newspaper or the cover of a periodical giving the name of the publication.
  1. the head of a mast.
  2. the uppermost point of a mast.
verb (used with object), Nautical.
to hoist a yard to the fullest extent.
to hoist to the truck of a mast, as a flag.
to send to the upper end of a mast as a punishment.
Nautical. run up to the head of a mast:
masthead rig.
Origin of masthead
First recorded in 1740-50; mast1 + head Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for masthead
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They saw the banner of Castile come fluttering down from the masthead.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Tom was at the masthead, endeavouring to pick up some landmark.

    The Last Voyage Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
  • Signals of distress were seen at her masthead, but no boat could venture out.

  • That I might know his boat, I bade him fly a jack a little below the masthead.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • The Miles passed while he stood there, the American flag flying from her masthead.

    Boy Scouts in the Philippines G. Harvey Ralphson
  • The crossbones as hung on the masthead o' the Spittin' Devil.

    Wappin' Wharf Charles S. Brooks
  • I fastened it at the masthead, so that we could hoist and lower the sail at pleasure.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • Hounds were projections at the masthead, supporting the rigging.

British Dictionary definitions for masthead


  1. the head of a mast
  2. (as modifier): masthead sail
Also called flag. the name of a newspaper or periodical, its proprietors, staff, etc, printed in large type at the top of the front page
verb (transitive)
to send (a sailor) to the masthead as a punishment
to raise (a sail) to the masthead
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 masthead

1748, "top of a ship's mast" (the place for the display of flags), hence, from 1838, "top of a newspaper;" from mast (n.1) + head (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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