[meyn-mast, -mahst; Nautical meyn-muh st]
the second mast from forward in any ship having two or more masts, except for a yawl, ketch, or dandy. the larger forward mast of a yawl, ketch, or dandy. the sole mast of any of various ships, as sloops or cutters.
Origin of mainmast
First recorded in 1475–85; main1
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for mainmast
Historical Examples of mainmast
Anything belonging to the mainmast should be distinguished by the prefix main.
He snatched a cross-bow from the rack about the mainmast, fitted a shaft to it and took aim.
He stepped to the mainmast, about which the powder kegs had been stacked.
They crowded to the bulwarks of the waist-deck and swarmed upon the rat-lines of the mainmast.
All at once, by the mainmast, somebody catches him by the arm.
British Dictionary definitions for mainmast
nautical the chief mast of a sailing vessel with two or more masts, being the foremast of a yawl, ketch, or dandy and the second mast from the bow of most others
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for mainmast
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper