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
Sorry, no etymologies found.
What the "backstay" is to the inhabitant of the district around Lydd, the stilts are to the lonely dwellers in the Landes.
Oh, he's a pearl of purest ray serene, if anybody should slide down a backstay and ask you.
One hand on the backstay, one foot on the stern rail, I hopped aboard and felt that familiar rush of anything-is-possible.
It snapped out from the maintopgallant backstay, a long, shot-torn streamer of sable without device.
Once I cleared the backstay, I surfaced, and I was right next to Steve.
The man overboard pole was secured to the backstay with Velcro and is likely to remain in place.
The man got out by the royal backstay, and lit his flare.
Abruptly, as he fired his last shot, I was aware of an indistinct Something, gliding down the starboard royal backstay.
Out on the crosstrees, I could see, by the light from my lantern, that Plummer was holding in a dazed fashion to the backstay.
November 7th, 2009 at 11: 42 pm PST techcrunch. com halla backstay cool f life. reply