[ wind-luh s ]
/ ˈwɪnd ləs /


a device for raising or hauling objects, usually consisting of a horizontal cylinder or barrel turned by a crank, lever, motor, or the like, upon which a cable, rope, or chain winds, the outer end of the cable being attached directly or indirectly to the weight to be raised or the thing to be hauled or pulled; winch.

verb (used with object)

to raise, haul, or move (a load) by means of a windlass.

Origin of windlass

1350–1400; Middle English wind(e)las < Old Norse vindāss, equivalent to vinda to wind2 + āss beam Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for windlass

British Dictionary definitions for windlass


/ (ˈwɪndləs) /


a machine for raising weights by winding a rope or chain upon a barrel or drum driven by a crank, motor, etc


(tr) to raise or haul (a weight, etc) by means of a windlass

Word Origin for windlass

C14: from Old Norse vindáss, from vinda to wind ² + ass pole; related to Old French guindas, Middle Low German, Dutch windas
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