- a large, usually triangular sail carried by a yacht as a headsail when running before the wind or when the wind is abaft the beam.
Origin of spinnaker
First recorded in 1865–70; said to be alteration of Sphinx, name of the first yacht making regular use of this sail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for spinnaker
"There's plenty of room on Spinnaker for both of us, I think," Parker replied, quietly.
His material must be conveyed across Spinnaker Lake in some other way.
I understand it all right, but when it comes to doing it, it comes out just like that spinnaker.Priscilla's Spies
George A. Birmingham
The spinnaker must be the same size as the jibs in these races.Yachting Vol. 2
Such a spinnaker will be more effective than a big (p. 301) one on an ocean cruise.Yachting Vol. 1
- a large light triangular racing sail set from the foremast of a yacht when running or on a broad reach
C19: probably from spin + (mo) niker, but traditionally derived from Sphinx, the yacht that first adopted this type of sail
Word Origin and History for spinnaker
"large triangular sail," 1866, either a derivative of spin in the sense of "go rapidly" or a corrupt pronunciation of Sphinx, which was the name of the first yacht known to carry this type of sail.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper