[ meyn-mast, -mahst; Nautical meyn-muhst ]

  1. the second mast from forward in any ship having two or more masts, except for a yawl, ketch, or dandy.

  2. the larger forward mast of a yawl, ketch, or dandy.

  1. the sole mast of any of various ships, as sloops or cutters.

Origin of mainmast

First recorded in 1475–85; main1 + mast1

Words Nearby mainmast Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mainmast in a sentence

  • The bulwarks, boats, and binnacle were carried clean off, and the mainmast had to be cut away.

  • He had taken a gun and loaded it with double-headed shot, and kept firing at the mainmast of the Serapis.

  • At the foot of the mainmast on each side is a brass fair-lead fitted with ten or twelve sheaves (figs. 13 and 14).

    Yachting Vol. 2 | Various.
  • The Constitution was sound and whole; the Java had only her mainmast left and was full of yawning rents.

  • The cabin was roomy, well carpeted, and contained a stationary table through the center of which ran the mainmast of the schooner.

    Ralph Granger's Fortunes | William Perry Brown

British Dictionary definitions for mainmast


/ (ˈmeɪnˌmɑːst) /

  1. 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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012