[ kok-suh n, -sweyn ]
/ ˈkɒk sən, -ˌsweɪn /


the steersman of a racing shell.
a person who is in charge of a ship's boat and its crew, under an officer, and who steers it.

Nearby words

  1. coxofemoral,
  2. coxotuberculosis,
  3. coxsackie encephalitis,
  4. coxsackie virus,
  5. coxsackievirus,
  6. coxwell chair,
  7. coy,
  8. coy.,
  9. coydog,
  10. coyly

Also cockswain.

Origin of coxswain

First recorded in 1425–75, coxswain is from the late Middle English word cokeswayne. See cockboat, swain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for coxswain

British Dictionary definitions for coxswain


/ (ˈkɒksən, -ˌsweɪn) /


the helmsman of a lifeboat, racing shell, etcAlso called: cockswain

Word Origin for coxswain

C15: from cock a ship's 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 coxswain



early 14c., "officer in charge of a ship's boat and its crew," from cock "ship's boat" (from Old French coque "canoe") + swain "boy," from Old Norse sveinn "boy, servant" (see swain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper