[ boh-suh n; spelling pronunciation boht-sweyn ]
/ ˈboʊ sən; spelling pronunciation ˈboʊtˌsweɪn /


a warrant officer on a warship, or a petty officer on a merchant vessel, in charge of rigging, anchors, cables, etc.
Also bo's'n, bosun.

Origin of boatswain

First recorded in 1400–50, boatswain is from the late Middle English word bote-swayn. See boat, swain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boatswain

British Dictionary definitions for boatswain


bosun or bo's'n

/ (ˈbəʊsən) /


a petty officer on a merchant ship or a warrant officer on a warship who is responsible for the maintenance of the ship and its equipment

Word Origin for boatswain

Old English bātswegen; see boat, swain
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