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breeches buoy

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noun Nautical.
  1. a rescue device consisting of a life buoy from which is suspended a canvas sling, similar in form to a pair of breeches, in which shipwrecked or disabled persons are hauled from a vessel to the shore or to another vessel by means of a rope and pulley between them.
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Origin of breeches buoy

First recorded in 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for breeches buoy

Historical Examples

  • Then the Miami dropped her anchor, to hold her place for the breeches-buoy.

    The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers

    Francis Rolt-Wheeler

  • I'd love to see you in a breeches-buoy, Perry, and I couldn't if it was dark.

    The Adventure Club Afloat

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • "I've always wanted to be taken off a sinking ship in a breeches-buoy," he said.

    The Adventure Club Afloat

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • When there are a great many people to be saved, this car is used in place of the breeches-buoy.

    Stories of Inventors

    Russell Doubleday

  • The breeches-buoy, therefore, could only be made fast to the stump of the mast a few feet above the deck.


British Dictionary definitions for breeches buoy

breeches buoy

noun
  1. a ring-shaped life buoy with a support in the form of a pair of short breeches, in which a person is suspended for safe transfer from a ship
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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