- a spar or structure rising above the hull and upper portions of a ship or boat to hold sails, spars, rigging, booms, signals, etc., at some point on the fore-and-aft line, as a foremast or mainmast.
- any of a number of individual spars composing such a structure, as a topmast supported on trestletrees at the head of a lower mast.
- any of various portions of a single spar that are beside particular sails, as a top-gallant mast and royal mast formed as a single spar.
- Also called pillar. the upright support of a jib crane.
- any upright pole, as a support for an aerial, a post in certain cranes, etc.
- to provide with a mast or masts.
- before the mast, Nautical. as an unlicensed sailor: He served several years before the mast.
Origin of mast1
- the fruit of the oak and beech or other forest trees, used as food for hogs and other animals.
Origin of mast2
- variant of masto- before a vowel: mastectomy.
Examples from the Web for mast
Bound together by mutual distrust, both sides end up lashing themselves to the mast of rigid law.Red Tape Is Strangling Good Samaritans
Philip K. Howard
December 27, 2014
Users include the Singapore navy: What small-warship commander would turn down a 1,000-foot mast?Why Old-School Airships Now Rule Our Warzones
June 30, 2014
When Odysseus journeyed back from Troy, his men tied him to the mast of his ship when the Sirens tempted him to leave it.War Nostalgia Is Leading Veterans to Places Like Syria. One Went Missing There.
May 3, 2014
The 13th Congressional District ship of state flies the Jolly David from its mast.PJ’s Political Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatheads
P. J. O’Rourke
March 14, 2014
Both French commanders died: Quiéret was killed as his ship was boarded, and Béhuchet was hanged from the mast of his ship.The Day the Sea Ran Red: The Battle of Sluys
May 6, 2013
She see us a-wallowin' in the trough and our mast thrashin' for all it was worth.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
We were fighting a fair fight, for he had boarded the ship when the mast fell and killed him.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
They're so mad because they can't get at us that they're biting the mast.The Forest
Stewart Edward White
We have a mast and sail there, I see, and water in the beaker.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
"Hand me the lead and line, that lie at the foot of the mast, it you please," said Paul.Homeward Bound
James Fenimore Cooper
- nautical any vertical spar for supporting sails, rigging, flags, etc, above the deck of a vessel or any components of such a composite spar
- any sturdy upright pole used as a support
- Also called: captain's mast nautical a hearing conducted by the captain of a vessel into minor offences of the crew
- before the mast nautical as an apprentice seaman
- (tr) nautical to equip with a mast or masts
- the fruit of forest trees, such as beech, oak, etc, used as food for pigs
- a variant of masto-
Word Origin and History for mast
"long pole on a ship to support the sail," Old English mæst, from Proto-Germanic *mastaz (cf. Old Norse mastr, Middle Dutch maste, Dutch, Danish mast, German Mast), from PIE *mazdo- "a pole, rod" (cf. Latin malus "mast," Old Irish matan "club," Irish maide "a stick," Old Church Slavonic mostu "bridge"). The single mast of an old ship was the boundary between quarters of officers and crew, hence before the mast in the title of Dana's book, etc.
"fallen nuts; food for swine," Old English mæst, from Proto-Germanic *masto (cf. Dutch, Old High German, German mast "mast;" Old English verb mæsten "to fatten, feed"), perhaps from PIE *mad-sta-, from root *mad- "moist, wet," also used of various qualities of food (cf. Sanskrit madati "it bubbles, gladdens," medah "fat, marrow;" Latin madere "be sodden, be drunk;" Middle Persian mast "drunk;" Old English mete "food," Old High German muos "meal, mushlike food," Gothic mats "food").
- Variant ofmasto-
Idioms and Phrases with mast
see at half-mast.