or hal·liard



any of various lines or tackles for hoisting a spar, sail, flag, etc., into position for use.

Origin of halyard

1325–75; Middle English halier rope to haul with (see hale2, -ier1) with final syllable altered by association with yard1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for halyard

Historical Examples of halyard

  • And, knotting the Luttrell flag on the halyard, he hoisted it in a moment.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • He stumbled to the sail; but his fingers were all thumbs, and he could not untie the halyard.

    Down The River

    Oliver Optic

  • He was not a strong man, but he did the best he could at the halyard, and the mate was satisfied with him.

    The Coming Wave

    Oliver Optic

  • "It is all up with us," said Mr. Carboy, the mate, as he dropped the halyard.

    The Coming Wave

    Oliver Optic

  • Half-way up he rested, by clutching the halyard and twisting it about his arm.

    The Rival Campers Ashore

    Ruel Perley Smith

British Dictionary definitions for halyard




nautical a line for hoisting or lowering a sail, flag, or spar

Word Origin for halyard

C14: halier, influenced by yard 1; see hale ²
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 halyard

"rope for hoisting sails," 1610s, from Middle English halier "a halyard" (late 14c.), also "a carrier, porter" (late 13c. in surnames), from halen "to haul" (see hale (v.)). Spelling influenced by yard "long beam that supports a sail" (see yard (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper