from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Nautical A spar, extending forward from the stem of a ship, to which the stays of the foremast are fastened.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A spar projecting over the prow of a sailing vessel to provide the means of adding sail surface.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A large boom or spar, which projects over the stem of a ship or other vessel, to carry sail forward.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A large spar which projects forward from the stem of a ship or other vessel.
- n. Beyond it extend the jib-boom and the flying-jib boom. The bowsprit is secured downward by the bobstays and the gammoning (which see), and at the sides by the bowsprit-shrouds, which are secured to the bows of the ship. From the outer end of the bowsprit a spar called the martingale or dolphin-striker projects downward to support the martingale-stays, and two smaller spars, called whiskers, project sidewise to support the jib-guys. On the foretopmast-stay, the jib-stay, and the flying-jib stay (which extend downward from the foretopmast-head and the foretop-gallantmast-head to the ends of the bowsprit, jib-boom, and flying-jib boom) are set the foretopmast-staysail, the jib, and the flying jib. Corruptly written boltsprit.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a spar projecting from the bow of a vessel
Middle English bouspret, possibly from Middle Low German bōchsprēt : bōch, bow; see bheug- in Indo-European roots + sprēt, sprit; see sper- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in late XIII century. Probably from M.L.G. bochspret: boch - "the bow of a ship" + spret - "pole". (Wiktionary)