[ taf-reyl, -ruhl ]

  1. the upper part of the stern of a ship.

  2. a rail above the stern of a ship.

Origin of taffrail

1805–15; syncopated variant of taffarel; -ai- spelling Dutch -ee-

Words Nearby taffrail

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use taffrail in a sentence

  • Stanley Hall and Jim Welton stood leaning over the taffrail, looking down into the black foam-streaked water.

  • Monsieur de Fontanges carved his way to the taffrail, and then turned round to kill again.

    Newton Forster | Captain Frederick Marryat
  • A few minutes later the purser came aft, carrying a parcel in his hand, which he carefully placed upon the taffrail.

    Adrift on the Pacific | Edward S. Ellis
  • Bevans, leaning against the taffrail, was binding his right forearm with strips torn from the shirt that hung on him in tatters.

    Cursed | George Allan England
  • One struck our taffrail, and another killed a man on the forecastle; but our rigging escaped.

    Peter the Whaler | W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for taffrail


/ (ˈtæfˌreɪl) /

  1. a rail at the stern or above the transom of a vessel

  2. the upper part of the transom of a vessel, esp a sailing vessel, often ornately decorated

Origin of taffrail

C19: changed (through influence of rail 1) from earlier tafferel, from Dutch taffereel panel (hence applied to the part of a vessel decorated with carved panels), variant of tafeleel (unattested), from tafel table

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