- Machinery. a supporting or checking piece in a mechanism.
- Building Trades. an anchored tension member, as a cable, permanently or temporarily supporting a compression member, as a tower or pole, subject to a pull above its base from the opposite direction.
- a strip of leather at the back of a shoe used for reinforcement and sometimes to connect the quarters.
Origin of backstay1
- Nautical. any of various shrouds forming part of a vessel's standing rigging and leading aft from masts above a lower mast to the sides or stern of the vessel in order to reinforce the masts against forward pull.
Origin of backstay2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for backstay
Yet he wondered why he could not reach out and grasp the backstay."Where Angels Fear to Tread" and Other Stories of the Sea
In my fall I grappled with the backstay, and brought myself up, and landed on the cross-trees.Yorkshire Oddities, Incidents and Strange Events
A piece of iron used instead of a chain to confine the dead-eye of the backstay to the after-channel.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
I accordingly slung the glass over my shoulder, swung myself off the yard on to the backstay, and so descended to the deck.A Pirate of the Caribbees
Cut away a brace or a backstay, now, aboard that Frenchman, and away would go a whole heap of his canvas.Under the Meteor Flag
- nautical a stay leading aft from the upper part of a mast to the deck or stern
- machinery a supporting piece or arresting part
- anything that supports or strengthens the back of something, such as leather covering the back seam of a shoe
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