[mast-hed, mahst-]


Also called flag. a statement printed in all issues of a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually on the editorial page, giving the publication's name, the names of the owner and staff, etc.
Also called nameplate. a line of type on the front page of a newspaper or the cover of a periodical giving the name of the publication.
  1. the head of a mast.
  2. the uppermost point of a mast.

verb (used with object) Nautical.


Nautical. run up to the head of a mast: masthead rig.

Origin of masthead

First recorded in 1740–50; mast1 + head Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for masthead

Contemporary Examples of masthead

Historical Examples of masthead

  • They saw the banner of Castile come fluttering down from the masthead.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Tom was at the masthead, endeavouring to pick up some landmark.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • Signals of distress were seen at her masthead, but no boat could venture out.

  • That I might know his boat, I bade him fly a jack a little below the masthead.

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • The Miles passed while he stood there, the American flag flying from her masthead.

British Dictionary definitions for masthead



  1. the head of a mast
  2. (as modifier)masthead sail
Also called: flag the name of a newspaper or periodical, its proprietors, staff, etc, printed in large type at the top of the front page

verb (tr)

to send (a sailor) to the masthead as a punishment
to raise (a sail) to the masthead
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 masthead

1748, "top of a ship's mast" (the place for the display of flags), hence, from 1838, "top of a newspaper;" from mast (n.1) + head (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper