Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rope or shroud extending from the top of a mast aft to a ship's side or stern to help support the mast.
  • n. A supporting device at or for the back of something else.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A part of the rigging of a sailing ship extending from masthead the top of the mast to the back of the ship; they support the strain on all upper masts and provide additional support to the shrouds when the wind is abaft the beam.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rope or stay extending from the masthead to the side of a ship, slanting a little aft, to assist the shrouds in supporting the mast.
  • n. A rope or strap used to prevent excessive forward motion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In printing, a strap of leather used to check the carriage of a printing-press.
  • n. In coal-mining, a forked bar of wrought-iron attached to the back of the mine-car when ascending an inclined plane, for the purpose of stopping the car in case of accident.
  • n. A rod extending from the perch to the outer end of the rear axle of a carriage.
  • n. One of the flaps of a carriage-top.
  • n. In purchase-shears, a powerful spring placed at the back of the moving blade to keep the two cutting edges in contact.
  • n. In metal-turning, an adjustable support for any very long or slender article.
  • n. pl. Naut., long ropes extending backward from the heads of all masts above the lower mast and fastened on each side of the ship to the chain-plates, serving to support the masts.
  • n. In mining, an inclined strut or brace of a shaft-head frame, designed to resist the pull of the hoisting-engine.

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

  • n. a stay that supports the back of something

Etymologies

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