[boh-suh n; spelling pronunciation boht-sweyn]
a warrant officer on a warship, or a petty officer on a merchant vessel, in charge of rigging, anchors, cables, etc.
Origin of boatswain
First recorded in 1400–50, boatswain
is from the late Middle English
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for boatswain
Historical Examples of boatswain
"He's hurt in the arm, sir, and he's gone below," said the boatswain.
There was a regular hard horse of a boatswain's-mate with us, of the name of McNally.
He then ordered the boatswain to call all hands aft, to the break of the quarter-deck.
I dare not do it, Boatswain; it's more than my life is worth.
You seem to be converted to that belief, for you have a brace of them, as the Boatswain says.
British Dictionary definitions for boatswain
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
Word Origin and History for boatswain
mid-15c., from late Old English batswegen, from bat "boat" (see boat (n.)) + Old Norse sveinn "boy" (see swain). Phonetic spelling bo'sun is attested from 1840.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper