• synonyms


[top-seyl; Nautical top-suh l]
noun Nautical.
  1. a sail, or either of a pair of sails, set immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmast.
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Origin of topsail

First recorded in 1350–1400, topsail is from the Middle English word topseil. See top1, sail
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for topsail

Historical Examples of topsail

  • At Topsail Inlet he ran his own vessel aground, as though by accident.

    Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

    Howard Pyle

  • When I headed after you I could not so much as catch a glimpse of your topsail.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • That topsail should have been in,' muttered the mate; 'but I'm not captain.

  • It is the old story of paying one's debts with the topsail sheet.

    Luttrell Of Arran

    Charles James Lever

  • The larger boat backed her topsail with shrieks and shoutings.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for topsail


  1. a square sail carried on a yard set on a topmast
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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