gaff topsail


noun Nautical.

Also called fore-and-aft topsail. a jib-headed fore-and-aft sail set above a gaff.
a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail set above the spanker of a bark, between the gaff of the spanker and an upper gaff.

Origin of gaff topsail

First recorded in 1785–95 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gaff-topsail

Historical Examples of gaff-topsail

  • She carries a fore-and-aft main-sail, gaff-topsail, stay-foresail, and jib.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • I wanted to take in the gaff-topsail also, but Bob would not hear of such a thing.

    For Treasure Bound

    Harry Collingwood

  • In the meantime the crew had come aft to take in the mainsail and gaff-topsail.

    Hurricane Hurry

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • What a head to the gaff-topsail, as long as that of the mainsail itself!

  • And raising me in his arms he laid me on the folds of the gaff-topsail, which lay upon the deck near the tiller.

    The Coral Island

    R.M. Ballantyne

British Dictionary definitions for gaff-topsail



a sail set above a gaffsail
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