[ taf-reyl, -ruh l ]
/ ˈtæfˌreɪl, -rəl /

noun Nautical.

the upper part of the stern of a ship.
a rail above the stern of a ship.

Nearby words

  1. tafe,
  2. tafelwein,
  3. taffarel,
  4. taffeta,
  5. taffeta weave,
  6. taffy,
  7. taffy apple,
  8. tafia,
  9. tafilelt,
  10. taft

Origin of taffrail

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for taffrail

British Dictionary definitions for taffrail


/ (ˈtæfˌreɪl) /

noun nautical

a rail at the stern or above the transom of a vessel
the upper part of the transom of a vessel, esp a sailing vessel, often ornately decorated

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for taffrail



1814, alteration of tafferel "upper panel on the stern of a ship (often ornamented)" (1704), earlier, "a carved panel" (1620s), from Dutch tafereel "panel for painting or carving," dissimulation from *tafeleel, diminutive of tafel "table," from the general West Germanic borrowing of Latin tabula "slab, board" (see table (n.)). The word developed in Dutch from the custom of ornamenting the high, flat stern of old sailing ships; spelling and sense altered in English by influence of rail (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper