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[spon-suh n] /ˈspɒn sən/
a structure projecting from the side or main deck of a vessel to support a gun or the outer edge of a paddle box.
a buoyant appendage at the gunwale of a canoe to resist capsizing.
Aeronautics. a protuberance at the side of a flying-boat hull, designed to increase lateral stability in the water.
Origin of sponson
First recorded in 1825-35; variant of expansion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sponson
Historical Examples
  • McKnutt signalled to him, and he opened fire from his sponson.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • There he lay, along one side of the tank between the engine and the sponson.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • A bomb exploded directly beneath the sponson, where the dead body had fallen.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • His tun of a torso bulged roundly out in front of me like the sponson of a battleship.

    Yellowstone Nights Herbert Quick
  • An eager gunner endeavoured to pass one of the tanks, but his gun caught the sponson and slipped off into the mud.

    A Company of Tanks W. H. L. Watson
  • The cutter jingled her full-speed bell while the tackle was still lifting the sponson boat.

  • He leaned on the rail and watched the departure of the officer of the faded blue cap with his crew of the sponson boat.

British Dictionary definitions for sponson


(navy) an outboard support for a gun enabling it to fire fore and aft
a semicircular gun turret on the side of a tank
a float or flotation chamber along the gunwale of a boat or ship
a structural projection from the side of a paddle steamer for supporting a paddle wheel
a structural unit attached to a helicopter fuselage by fixed struts, housing the main landing gear and inflatable flotation bags
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from expansion
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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