[ trahy-seyl; Nautical trahy-suhl ]

  1. a triangular or quadrilateral sail having its luff hooped or otherwise bent to a mast, used for lying to or keeping a vessel headed into the wind; spencer.

Origin of trysail

First recorded in 1760–70; try + sail

Words Nearby trysail Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use trysail in a sentence

  • Her three topmasts were housed, and she was hove-to under the lee clew of her close-reefed topsail and a small storm-trysail.

    With Airship and Submarine | Harry Collingwood
  • A snow was a small vessel like a brig except for having a supplementary third, or trysail, mast.

  • He now gave the word to set the trysail; and the mainsail being stowed, it was hoisted in its stead.

  • Ten minutes' work and it was securely fastened and its cover on; two reefs were put in the trysail.

    Among Malay Pirates | G. A. Henty
  • In proof of that we could see back behind us where the Nannie O, under her trysail, was almost holding her own.

    The Seiners | James B. (James Brendan) Connolly

British Dictionary definitions for trysail


/ (ˈtraɪˌseɪl, nautical ˈtraɪsəl) /

  1. a small fore-and-aft sail, triangular or square, set on the mainmast of a sailing vessel in foul weather to help keep her head to the wind: Also called: storm trysail

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