sprit

[sprit]
noun Nautical.
  1. a small pole or spar crossing a fore-and-aft sail diagonally from the mast to the upper aftermost corner, serving to extend the sail.

Origin of sprit

before 900; Middle English spret, Old English sprēot; cognate with Dutch, German Spriet; akin to sprout
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British Dictionary definitions for sprit

sprit

noun
  1. nautical a light spar pivoted at the mast and crossing a fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail diagonally to the peak

Word Origin for sprit

Old English spreot; related to Old High German spriuzen to support, Dutch spriet sprit, Norwegian sprӯta
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 sprit
n.

Old English spreot "pole," originally "a sprout, shoot, branch," from root of sprout. Cognate with Middle Dutch spriet, Middle Low German spryet, German spriet, North Frisian sprit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper