[fawr-stey, fohr-]


a stay leading aft and upward from the stem or knightheads of a vessel to the head of the fore lower mast; the lowermost stay of a foremast.
a stay leading aft and upwards toward the mainmast of a sloop, knockabout, cutter, ketch, yawl, or dandy.

Origin of forestay

First recorded in 1325–75, forestay is from the Middle English word forstay. See fore-, stay3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forestay

Historical Examples of forestay

  • A lantern was hoisted on the forestay, and all hands were soon asleep.

    Little By Little

    William Taylor Adams

  • And then the height of the mast, with its huge yard; and what a forestay it takes to hold it!

  • So saying, Tom Virtue took his place in the bow, holding on by the forestay.

  • Bidding the mate hang a riding light on the forestay, Lowry got his night glasses, and turned them upon the fire.

    Tom Gerrard

    Louis Becke

  • Needless to say, we had hoisted no lantern on the forestay since the night the other boats had driven away from us or gone down.


    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

British Dictionary definitions for forestay



nautical an adjustable stay leading from the truck of the foremast to the deck, stem, or bowsprit, for controlling the motion or bending of the mast
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