- a part of a sail that is rolled and tied down to reduce the area exposed to the wind.
- to shorten (sail) by tying in one or more reefs.
- to reduce the length of (a topmast, a bowsprit, etc.), as by lowering, sliding inboard, or the like.
- to pull (old oakum) out of seams, as with a rave hook (often followed by out).
Origin of reef2
Related Wordswrecked, ashore, stranded, marooned, decelerate, hinder, retard, moderate, slacken, relax, lessen, lag, reduce, stall, decrease, abate, curb, diminish, impede, curtail
Examples from the Web for reefed
Sails were furled, others were reefed, and all was made fairly snug.The Last Voyage
Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
He was reefed close and was making for the inlet, up Bay End way.Janet of the Dunes
Harriet T. Comstock
The sails were not reefed, for it was not known when they might be required.Frank Merriwell's Cruise
Burt L. Standish
Perfectly cool, he stood waiting till the sails were reefed.The Three Midshipmen
We had been under lower-topsails and a reefed foresail all night.The Mutiny of the Elsinore
- a ridge of rock, sand, coral, etc, the top of which lies close to the surface of the sea
- a ridge- or mound-like structure built by sedentary calcareous organisms (esp corals) and consisting mainly of their remains
- a vein of ore, esp one of gold-bearing quartz
- the part gathered in when sail area is reduced, as in a high wind
- to reduce the area of (sail) by taking in a reef
- (tr) to shorten or bring inboard (a spar)
Word Origin and History for reefed
1660s, "take in, roll up" (as a sail on a ship), from reef (n.2). Related: Reefed; reefing.
"rock ridge underwater," 1580s, riffe, probably via Dutch riffe, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse rif "ridge in the sea; reef in a sail," literally "rib" (see rib (n.)).
"horizontal section of sail," late 14c. (mid-14c. in rif-rope), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse rif "reef of a sail," probably a transferred use of rif "ridge under the sea; rib" (see rib (n.) and cf. reef (n.1)). German reff, Swedish ref, Norwegian riv, Danish reb likely all are from the Old Norse word.
- A strip or ridge of rocks, sand, or coral that rises to or near the surface of a body of water. See more at coral reef.