• synonyms


[hawz, haws]Nautical
  1. the part of a bow where the hawseholes are located.
  2. a hawsehole or hawsepipe.
  3. the distance or space between the bow of an anchored vessel and the point on the surface of the water above the anchor.
  4. the relative position or arrangement of the port and starboard anchor cables when both are used to moor a vessel.
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verb (used without object), hawsed, haws·ing.
  1. (of a vessel) to pitch heavily at anchor.
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  1. to hawse, with both bow anchors out: a ship riding to hawse.
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Origin of hawse

before 1000; Middle English hals, Old English heals bow of a ship, literally, neck; cognate with Old Norse hals in same senses, Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Old High German hals neck, throat, Latin collus (< *kolsos)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hawse

Historical Examples

  • That cursed Spanish ship ahead is heaving-to athwart our hawse.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • The hawse hole for the chain cable is fitted as has not been seen before.

    If, Yes and Perhaps

    Edward Everett Hale

  • The “hawse” of a ship is that part of the bows where the “hawse-holes” are made.

  • Said well never get the hawsers to run out with them bugs in the hawse pipes.

    The Sea and the Jungle

    H. M. Tomlinson

  • You ride my hawse, Mr. Cameron, and Ill sit in yere and drive.

British Dictionary definitions for hawse


  1. the part of the bows of a vessel where the hawseholes are
  2. short for hawsehole, hawsepipe
  3. the distance from the bow of an anchored vessel to the anchor
  4. the arrangement of port and starboard anchor ropes when a vessel is riding on both anchors
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  1. (intr) (of a vessel) to pitch violently when at anchor
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Word Origin

C14: from earlier halse, probably from Old Norse háls; related to Old English heals neck
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 hawse


part of a ship's bow (containing the hawse-holes), late 15c., from Old English or Old Norse hals "part of a ship's prow," literally "neck" (see collar). Respelled with -aw- late 1500s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper