a light sailing ship, especially one formerly used in attendance on a larger ship.
any of various kinds of ship's boats.
a small 17th-century ship having two or three masts and a flat stern, used in northern Europe as a warship and merchant ship and as a tender.

Origin of pinnace

1540–50; < Middle French pinace < Old Spanish pinaza literally, something made of pino pine1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pinnace

Historical Examples of pinnace

  • The pinnace was then stripped of her rigging and of all the goods which remained.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • Later in the afternoon it was observed that Hornigold's pinnace was not in the harbor.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

  • The last shot, too, that was fired from the pinnace had killed three men.

  • It was Kamuso, who said he was bound for Sandwich and would beg a passage in the pinnace.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin

  • I was helping to get out the pinnace, and there is a mort of dust and dirt about her.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin

British Dictionary definitions for pinnace



any of various kinds of ship's tender

Word Origin for pinnace

C16: from French pinace, apparently from Old Spanish pinaza, literally: something made of pine, ultimately from Latin pīnus pine
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 pinnace

small, light vessel, 1540s, from Middle French pinace (earlier spinace, 15c., from Old French espinace, Modern French péniche; also attested as Anglo-Latin spinachium (mid-14c.)); of unknown origin. The French word perhaps is from Italian pinaccia or Spanish pinaza, from pino "pine tree; ship" (Latin pinus "pine tree" also had a secondary sense of "ship, vessel"). But variations in early forms makes this uncertain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper