[ bou-sprit, boh- ]
See synonyms for bowsprit on
  1. 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) (bōchbow3 + spret pole, cognate with Old English sprēot)

Words Nearby bowsprit Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use bowsprit in a sentence

  • The bowsprit of the Guerriere caught fast in the rigging of the Constitution, and the sailors on both ships tried to board.

  • Her bowsprit and masts were nearly all cut away, and out of more than a hundred men only fourteen were unhurt.

  • They'd got a kind of fore-shortening out of the bowsprit, and another set of canvas partly up that was dirty and patched.

    The Belted Seas | Arthur Colton
  • A few wretches alone clung desperately to the forepart of the ship and the stump of the bowsprit.

    The Missing Ship | W. H. G. Kingston
  • The studding-sails were rigged out, and various strange-shaped sails were set between the masts and above and below the bowsprit.

    The Missing Ship | W. H. G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for bowsprit


/ (ˈbəʊsprɪt) /

  1. nautical a spar projecting from the bow of a vessel, esp a sailing vessel, used to carry the headstay as far forward as possible

Origin of 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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012