• synonyms


or miz·en

[miz-uh n]Nautical
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  1. a fore-and-aft sail set on a mizzenmast.Compare crossjack, spanker(def 1a).
  2. mizzenmast.
  1. of or relating to a mizzenmast.
  2. noting a sail, yard, boom, etc., or any rigging belonging to a mizzen lower mast or to some upper mast of a mizzenmast.
  3. noting any stay running aft and upward to the head of a mizzen lower mast or some specified upper mast of a mizzenmast: mizzen topmast stay.

Origin of mizzen

1375–1425; late Middle English meson, mesan, probably < Italian mezzana
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mizen

Historical Examples

  • She was leaning against the mizen shrouds, between the coils of rope.

    Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home

    Bayard Taylor

  • At midnight, orders were given to furl the fore and mizen topsails.

  • The crew were seen in the mizen rigging, frantically waving.

  • To bagpipe the mizen is to lay it aback, by bringing the sheet to the mizen-shrouds.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The flags borne on the mizen were particularly called gallants.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for mizen



  1. a sail set on a mizzenmast
  2. short for mizzenmast
  1. of or relating to any kind of gear used with a mizzenmasta mizzen staysail

Word Origin

C15: from French misaine, from Italian mezzana, mezzano middle
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

Word Origin and History for mizen



early 15c., from Middle French misaine "foresail, foremast," altered (by influence of Italian mezzana "mizzen") from Old French migenne, from Catalan mitjana, from Latin medianus "of the middle" (see median). Klein suggests the French word is from Arabic, via Italian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper