• synonyms


verb (used with object), rove or reeved, ro·ven or reeved, reev·ing. Nautical.
  1. to pass (a rope or the like) through a hole, ring, or the like.
  2. to fasten by placing through or around something.
  3. to pass a rope through (the swallow of a block).
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Origin of reeve2

1620–30; < Dutch reven to reef; see reef2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reeved

Historical Examples

  • It was reeved through an iron ring that jutted from the stone.

    The Caves of Fear

    John Blaine

  • Ropes were reeved through pulleys in the ceiling, for raising the wire-ball device to permit entrance.

  • Did they have something with them, reeved up in a hammock—something that smelled sweet?

  • While all this was going on a deckhand had reeved a block and tackle through the end of the cargo gaff and passed it to the winch.

    Captain Scraggs

    Peter B. Kyne

  • We now reeved our ropes and rigged our ship the best we could, every man working as if to save our lives in the utmost extremity.

British Dictionary definitions for reeved


  1. English history the local representative of the king in a shire (under the ealdorman) until the early 11th centuryCompare sheriff
  2. (in medieval England) a manorial steward who supervised the daily affairs of the manor: often a villein elected by his fellows
  3. canadian government (in certain provinces) a president of a local council, esp in a rural area
  4. (formerly) a minor local official in any of several parts of England and the US
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Word Origin

Old English gerēva; related to Old High German ruova number, array


verb reeves, reeving, reeved or rove (rəʊv) (tr) nautical
  1. to pass (a rope or cable) through an eye or other narrow opening
  2. to fasten by passing through or around something
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Word Origin

C17: perhaps from Dutch rēven reef ²


  1. the female of the ruff (the bird)
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Word Origin

C17: of uncertain origin
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 reeved



"steward," Old English gerefa "king's officer," of unknown origin and with no known cognates. Not connected to German Graf (see margrave). An Anglo-Saxon official of high rank, having local jurisdiction under a king. Cf. sheriff.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper