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or mizen

[miz-uh n] /ˈmɪz ən/ Nautical
a fore-and-aft sail set on a mizzenmast.
Compare crossjack, spanker (def 1a).
of or relating to a mizzenmast.
noting a sail, yard, boom, etc., or any rigging belonging to a mizzen lower mast or to some upper mast of a mizzenmast.
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
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English meson, mesan, probably < Italian mezzana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for mizzen
Historical Examples
  • Two others stood ready at the foot of the main and mizzen riggings.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • This move brought him into a safe place between the mainmast and the mizzen.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • He squinted at the mizzen rigging where the lanterns revealed the damage.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Mayo, returning to the mizzen, found the entire crew grouped there.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • We control the braces on the mizzen, although they control the canvas on the mizzen.

  • But only the fore and mizzen ones are wanted to balance the pressure aloft.

    All Afloat

    William Wood
  • "Made fast to the wharf at the foot of this street," said Mr. mizzen.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
  • First came Mr. mizzen, leading the way with Freddie by his side.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
  • "Then I guess you'll have to sing for us yourself, mizzen," said Toby.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
  • Mr. mizzen stopped, and looked towards the stern of the ship.

    The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen
British Dictionary definitions for mizzen


a sail set on a mizzenmast
short for mizzenmast
of or relating to any kind of gear used with a mizzenmast: a 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
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Word Origin and History for mizzen

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
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