a spar projecting from the upper end of the bow of a sailing vessel, for holding the tacks of various jibs or stays and often supporting a jib boom.
Origin of bowsprit
1300–50; Middle English bouspret
< Middle Low German bōchspret
(cognate with Dutch boegsprit
) (bōch bow3
pole, cognate with Old English sprēot
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for bowsprit
Historical Examples of bowsprit
The Growler had lost her bowsprit, and was otherwise damaged, and had been forced to strike also.
And springing up, he ran to the bowsprit and began to swarm along it.
She lost her bowsprit and foremast, but escaped further injury.
The pier is all but on the bowsprit, and you think you are there—roll, roar, wash!
Cain stood at the bowsprit, giving his directions to the helmsman.
British Dictionary definitions for bowsprit
nautical a spar projecting from the bow of a vessel, esp a sailing vessel, used to carry the headstay as far forward as possible
Word Origin for bowsprit
C13: from Middle Low German bōchsprēt, from bōch bow ³ + sprēt pole
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for bowsprit
"spar extending from the bow of a ship," late 13c., probably from Middle Low German bochspret, from boch "bow of a ship" (see bow (n.2)) + spret "pole" (cf. Old English spreot "pole," Dutch spriet "spear;" see sprit). French beaupre is a Dutch loan word.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper