• synonyms


  1. Nautical.
    1. a fore-and-aft sail on the aftermost lower mast of a sailing vessel having three or more masts.
    2. a designation given to the mast abaft a mizzenmast, usually the aftermost mast in any vessel.
  2. Informal. a smartly moving person or animal, especially a fast horse.
  3. Chiefly New England. something remarkably fine.
Show More
adjective Nautical.
  1. of or relating to a spanker mast or its rigging.
Show More

Origin of spanker

First recorded in 1745–55; akin to spanking
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spanker

Historical Examples of spanker

  • It was all that was left of Spanker—the stick with which he had been tied.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The British built at least one sail-propelled battery, the Spanker, in 1794.

  • As "Dolly" Spanker, my husband, he was inimitable, and brought down the house two or three times during the evening.

  • The writer has many times seen a fellow who travelled the country, nicknamed the Spanker.

  • To become the owner of this old friend again and of his new companions, Spanker and Pony, was a work of necessity.

British Dictionary definitions for spanker


  1. nautical a fore-and-aft sail or a mast that is aftermost in a sailing vessel
  2. informal a person or animal that moves at a quick smart pace
  3. informal something outstandingly fine or large
Show More
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