[ uh-baft, uh-bahft ]
/ əˈbæft, əˈbɑft /


to the rear of; aft of: the fife rail abaft the mainmast.


in the direction of the stern; astern; aft.


Origin of abaft

1225–75; Middle English on baft, abaft, equivalent to a-1 and on on + baft, Old English bæftan contraction of be + æftan. See by1 aft1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abaft

British Dictionary definitions for abaft


/ (əˈbɑːft) nautical /

adverb, adjective (postpositive)

closer to the stern than to another place on a vesselwith the wind abaft


behind; aft ofabaft the mast

Word Origin for abaft

C13: on baft; baft from Old English beæftan, from be by + æftan behind
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

Word Origin and History for abaft



"in or at the back part of a ship" (opposed to forward), 1590s, from Middle English on baft (Old English on bæftan) "backwards." The second component is itself a compound of be "by" (see by) and æftan "aft" (see aft). The word has been saved by the sailors (the stern being the "after" part of a vessel), the rest of the language having left it in Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper