[dav-it, dey-vit]


any of various cranelike devices used singly or in pairs for supporting, raising, and lowering especially boats, anchors, and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.

Origin of davit

1325–75; Middle English daviot < Anglo-French, apparently diminutive of Davi David
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for davit

Historical Examples of davit

  • So, so, an' did Davit Lunan mak oot 'at there was humour in that?

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

  • This was proved by Davit Lunan, tinsmith, whom I have heard tell the story.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie

  • "Trussed him up to the davit pole," he breathed in the inspector's ear.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate

    Freeman Wills Crofts

  • But as it went Mayo clutched a davit pulley and swung in midair.

  • The lashing which secures the davit to the shrouds when out of use.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for davit



a cranelike device, usually one of a pair, fitted with a tackle for suspending or lowering equipment, esp a lifeboat

Word Origin for davit

C14: from Anglo-French daviot, diminutive of Davi David
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 davit

also david, "crane-like structure used to lower things off a ship, etc.," late 15c., apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (cf. jack, jenny, jimmy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper