[ reef ]
/ rif /


a part of a sail that is rolled and tied down to reduce the area exposed to the wind.

verb (used with object)

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 reef

1350–1400; Middle English refe (noun) < Dutch reef


un·reefed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reefed

British Dictionary definitions for reefed (1 of 3)

/ (riːf) /


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

Word Origin for reef

C16: from Middle Dutch ref, from Old Norse rif rib 1, reef ²

British Dictionary definitions for reefed (2 of 3)

/ (riːf) nautical /


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 for reef

C14: from Middle Dutch rif; related to Old Norse rif reef, rib 1, German reffen to reef; see reef 1

British Dictionary definitions for reefed (3 of 3)

/ (riːf) /

noun the Reef

another name for the Great Barrier Reef
another name for the Witwatersrand
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

Scientific definitions for reefed

[ rēf ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.