or miz·en

[miz-uh n]Nautical


a fore-and-aft sail set on a mizzenmast.Compare crossjack, spanker(def 1a).


of or relating to a mizzenmast.
noting a sail, yard, boom, etc., or any rigging belonging to a mizzen lower mast or to some upper mast of a mizzenmast.
noting any stay running aft and upward to the head of a mizzen lower mast or some specified upper mast of a mizzenmast: mizzen topmast stay.

Origin of mizzen

1375–1425; late Middle English meson, mesan, probably < Italian mezzana
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mizzen

Historical Examples of mizzen

  • Two others stood ready at the foot of the main and mizzen riggings.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • This move brought him into a safe place between the mainmast and the mizzen.

  • He squinted at the mizzen rigging where the lanterns revealed the damage.

  • Mayo, returning to the mizzen, found the entire crew grouped there.

  • We control the braces on the mizzen, although they control the canvas on the mizzen.

British Dictionary definitions for mizzen





a sail set on a mizzenmast
short for mizzenmast


of or relating to any kind of gear used with a mizzenmasta mizzen staysail

Word Origin for mizzen

C15: from French misaine, from Italian mezzana, mezzano middle
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 mizzen

early 15c., from Middle French misaine "foresail, foremast," altered (by influence of Italian mezzana "mizzen") from Old French migenne, from Catalan mitjana, from Latin medianus "of the middle" (see median). Klein suggests the French word is from Arabic, via Italian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper