[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

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

  • Hoisted well up, as it should be, right under the forestay, it is high enough to catch the wind between the seas.

  • Her spinnaker bellied against the topmast stay and forestay, and formed at once a backsail, if anything.

  • A lamp hung on the forestay as a beacon for the boats and one could see the sweep of planks and line of the rail.

    Wyndham's Pal

    Harold Bindloss

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