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[trahy-seyl; Nautical trahy-suh l] /ˈtraɪˌseɪl; Nautical ˈtraɪ səl/
noun, Nautical.
a triangular or quadrilateral sail having its luff hooped or otherwise bent to a mast, used for lying to or keeping a vessel headed into the wind; spencer.
Origin of trysail
First recorded in 1760-70; try + sail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for trysail
Historical Examples
  • A spar abaft the fore and main mast, for hoisting the trysail.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The trysail gaff had parted, and, falling, had struck the old pilot to the deck.

    Tales of the Sea W.H.G. Kingston
  • This failing, they set a spencer or trysail, and shift on the other tack.

    Sea Stories Various
  • If the owner does not carry a storm square-sail, he should have a boom to his trysail.

    Yachting Vol. 1 Various.
  • One end of which was secured by a bight of the trysail brailing.

  • He took in royals and topgallant sails, furled the courses, trysail and jib, and double-reefed the topsails.

    Sustained honor John R. Musick,
  • Indeed, a trysail that day would have been sail enough for almost any men but these.

    The Seiners

    James B. (James Brendan) Connolly
  • This was accordingly done, and the trysail was set instead, and the helm lashed a-lee.

    The Cruise of the Frolic W.H.G. Kingston
  • The Old Man came up on deck and looked round, and in less than a minute he told us to give her the trysail.

    Wandering Ghosts F. Marion Crawford
  • Then boom away, my lads; get the trysail down too, and well run under double-reefed topsails alone.

British Dictionary definitions for trysail


/ˈtraɪˌseɪl; nautical ˈtraɪsəl/
a small fore-and-aft sail, triangular or square, set on the mainmast of a sailing vessel in foul weather to help keep her head to the wind Also called storm trysail
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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