noun Nautical.

a stout bar of wood or metal placed across a lower spar so as to support a higher one.
a stout bar used to hold a running bowsprit in its extended position.
a wooden or metal pin for parting strands of a rope.
a bar or pin used as a key or toggle.

Origin of fid

First recorded in 1605–15; origin uncertain



a combining form meaning “divided,” “lobed,” occurring in adjectives borrowed from Latin (bifid); on this model, used in the formation of compound words (pinnatifid).

Origin of -fid

< Latin -fidus divided, equivalent to -fid- (variant stem of findere to split) + -us adj. suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fid

Historical Examples of fid

  • Heeling is the square part of the spar through which the fid hole is cut.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The rope which Fid secured made the task comparatively, easy.

    True Blue

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • He accordingly shut the great doors, and put the fid into the staple.

  • The doors cannot be opened again until the fid is taken out.

  • The fid should always be fastened to the cross-trees or trestle-trees, by a lanyard.

    The Seaman's Friend

    Richard Henry Dana

British Dictionary definitions for fid


noun nautical

a spike for separating strands of rope in splicing
a wooden or metal bar for supporting the heel of a topmast

Word Origin for fid

C17: of unknown origin


adj combining form

divided into parts or lobesbifid; pinnatifid

Word Origin for -fid

from Latin -fidus, from findere to split
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 fid


word-forming element meaning "split, divided into parts," from Latin -fidus, related to findere "to split" (see fissure).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper