from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An experienced seaman certified to perform all routine duties at sea.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • a seaman who is competent to perform any work which may be required of him on board ship, such as fitting and placing rigging, making and mending sails, in addition to the ability to “hand, reef, and steer.” Synonyms and Capable, competent, qualified, fitted, adequate, efficient; strong, sturdy, powerful, vigorous; talented, accomplished, clever.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative form of able-bodied seaman.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a seaman in the merchant marine; trained in special skills


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word able seaman.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Performs following tasks on board ship to watch for obstructions in vessel's path and to maintain equipment and structures: Stands watch at bow or on wing of bridge to look for obstructions in path of vessel. Measures depth of water in shallow or unfamiliar waters, using leadline, and telephones or shouts information to bridge. Turns wheel on bridge or uses emergency steering apparatus to steer vessel as directed by MATE, SHIP (water trans.). Breaks out, rigs, overhauls, and stows cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear. Overhauls lifeboats and lifeboat gear and lowers or raises lifeboats with winch or falls. Paints and chips rust on deck or superstructure of ship. Must hold certificate issued by U.S. Government. When working aboard vessels carrying liquid cargoes, must hold tanker operator's certificate. May stow or remove cargo from ship's hold STEVEDORE (water trans.) II. May be concerned with only one phase of duties, as maintenance of ship's gear and decks or watch duties, and be known as Deckhand, Maintenance (water trans.); Watchstander (water trans.).

    October 4, 2008

  • See comment on able.

    January 28, 2022