EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN noun . Nautical the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail. verb (used without object) to bring the head of a sailing ship closer to or directly into the wind, with sails shaking. (of a sail) to shake from being set too close to the wind: The sail luffed as we put about for port. to raise or lower the outer end of the boom of a crane or derrick so as to move its load horizontally. verb (used with object) to set (the helm of a ship) in such a way as to bring the head of the ship into the wind. to raise or lower the outer end of (the boom of a crane or derrick). Origin of luff 1175–1225; Middle English lof, loof steering gear (compare Old French lof) < Middle Dutch (unrecorded), later Dutch loef tholepin (of tiller) Related forms un·luffed, adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for luff Historical Examples of luff
It is probable the enemy did not keep his
luff, towards the last, on account of the land.
And they did, me staying aboard the Hattie to
luff her for them to get away.
Luff, occurs generally as a personal name, hence the dim.
Luff a little," he added, as he discovered the dim outline of the shore.
They did not dare to
luff her to the west or bear her away to the east. British Dictionary definitions for luff noun nautical the leading edge of a fore-and-aft sail noun tackle consisting of a single and a double block for use with rope having a large diameter verb nautical to head (a sailing vessel) into the wind so that her sails flap (intr) nautical (of a sail) to flap when the wind is blowing equally on both sides to move the jib of (a crane) or raise or lower the boom of (a derrick) in order to shift a load Word Origin for luff
C13 (in the sense: steering gear): from Old French
lof, perhaps from Middle Dutch loef peg of a tiller; compare Old High German laffa palm of hand, oar blade, Russian lapa paw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for luff n.
c.1200, in sailing, from Old French
lof "spar," or some other nautical device, "point of sail," also "windward side," probably from Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch lof "windward side of a ship" (Dutch loef), which might also be the direct source of the English word), from Proto-Germanic *lofo (cf. Old Norse lofi, Gothic lofa "palm of the hand," Danish lab, Swedish labb "paw"), from PIE *lep- "to be flat" (see glove). As a verb from late 14c., from the noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper