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[reev] /riv/
verb (used with object), rove or reeved, roven or reeved, reeving. Nautical.
to pass (a rope or the like) through a hole, ring, or the like.
to fasten by placing through or around something.
to pass a rope through (the swallow of a block).
Origin of reeve2
1620-30; < Dutch reven to reef; see reef2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for reeving
Historical Examples
  • The next operation was the reeving of the ropes over the wheels of the pulley.

    The Plant Hunters Mayne Reid
  • The reeving of yard-ropes was his idea, though he disclaimed it.

  • Slops paused in his hauling and reeving to shake a fist at Solomon.

    In the Days of Poor Richard

    Irving Bacheller
  • It was accomplished by reeving a line from hole to hole by means of the long slender pole already mentioned.

    The Hunters' Feast Mayne Reid
  • Two days after seeing the land, a boy fell from the fore-top-gallant yard, while reeving the studding-sail halyards.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • A tackle is a purchase formed by reeving a rope through one or more blocks for the purpose of hoisting or pulling.

    The Gunner's Examiner Harold E. Cloke
  • It generally means the extremity of the yard, and it is fitted with sheave-holes for reeving sheets through.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • He knew something of reeving rigging, too, it seemed, and lent a hand now and then.

    The Rival Campers Afloat Ruel Perley Smith
  • A Tackle is a purchase formed by reeving a rope through two or more blocks, for the purpose of hoisting.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
  • He was reeving a rope through a block to form a tackle, when a shot struck him in the head.

    Marmaduke Merry William H. G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for reeving


(English history) the local representative of the king in a shire (under the ealdorman) until the early 11th century Compare sheriff
(in medieval England) a manorial steward who supervised the daily affairs of the manor: often a villein elected by his fellows
(government:Canada) (in certain provinces) a president of a local council, esp in a rural area
(formerly) a minor local official in any of several parts of England and the US
Word Origin
Old English gerēva; related to Old High German ruova number, array


verb (transitive) (nautical) reeves, reeving, reeved, rove (rəʊv)
to pass (a rope or cable) through an eye or other narrow opening
to fasten by passing through or around something
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from Dutch rēvenreef²


the female of the ruff (the bird)
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin
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 reeving



"steward," Old English gerefa "king's officer," of unknown origin and with no known cognates. Not connected to German Graf (see margrave). An Anglo-Saxon official of high rank, having local jurisdiction under a king. Cf. sheriff.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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