[ fawr-seyl, fohr-; Nautical fawr-suhl, fohr- ]

  1. the lowermost sail on a foremast.

  2. the staysail or jib, set immediately forward of the mainmast of a sloop, cutter, knockabout, yawl, ketch, or dandy.

Origin of foresail

First recorded in 1475–85; fore- + sail

Words Nearby foresail Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use foresail in a sentence

  • The two were under the same canvas, each with jibheader over single-reef mainsails, foresail, and jib.

    Yachting Vol. 2 | Various.
  • The captain got his glass, and climbed up to the gaff of the foresail.

    Left on Labrador | Charles Asbury Stephens
  • We kept the foresail and the jib set, and jogged on, doubling amid the ice.

    Left on Labrador | Charles Asbury Stephens
  • The mainsail was set to a chorus like the crying of sea fowl and the foresail and jib.

    The Beach of Dreams | H. De Vere Stacpoole
  • With a run the foresail and mainsail were lowered and furled.

    Boy Scouts in the North Sea | G. Harvey Ralphson

British Dictionary definitions for foresail


/ (ˈfɔːˌseɪl, nautical ˈfɔːsəl) /

  1. the aftermost headsail of a fore-and-aft rigged vessel

  2. the lowest sail set on the foremast of a square-rigged vessel

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