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  1. an underwater defensive device against mines, consisting of a pair of torpedo-shaped vanes towed at the bow of a ship, usually a minesweeper, by cables that can cut the cable of a moored mine, causing the mine to rise to the surface, where it can be destroyed or removed from the water.

Origin of paravane

First recorded in 1915–20; para-1 + vane
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for paravane

Historical Examples

  • In some forms of paravane there is a hinged jaw which is operated from the ship to shear the cable.

    Inventions of the Great War

    A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond

  • The mine cable slides along the paravane cable and in this way is carried clear of the ship's hull.

    Inventions of the Great War

    A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond

  • A careful study of Fig. 30 will show how this is prevented by the deflecting wires of the paravane.

    Submarine Warfare of To-day

    Charles W. Domville-Fife

British Dictionary definitions for paravane


  1. a torpedo-shaped device towed from the bow of a vessel so that the cables will cut the anchors of any moored mines

Word Origin

C20: from para- ² + vane
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