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

  • noun One of the two horizontal crosspieces at the upper ends of the lower masts in fore-and-aft-rigged vessels, serving to spread the shrouds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Nautical, one of the horizontal pieces of timber or metal, supported by the cheeks and trestletrees, at the upper ends of the lower masts in fore-and-aft rigged vessels, and at the topmast-heads of square-rigged vessels.

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

  • noun nautical A light timber or metal spreader fixed athwartships part way up a mast to spread the shrouds from higher up


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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


  • "crosstree," the preventer is misnamed the "vang," the spinnaker boom is rigged without any spinnaker shown, and the telltale is attached to the mainsail, where it is less likely to be as useful as on the jib.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIV No 1

  • Another time he dropped a steel marlinspike from the mizzen crosstree.

    Chapter 16

  • His fiends, stripped and whipped, was nailed like bat to barndoor, starved on crosstree, Who let Him bury, stood up, harrowed hell, fared into heaven and there these nineteen hundred years sitteth on the right hand of His Own Self but yet shall come in the latter day to doom the quick and dead when all the quick shall be dead already.


  • He cringed when he saw the neat white and black sign hanging from a crosstree on the lawn: Gold Coast Obedience School, and in smaller letters beneath: Police and Attack Training Our Specialty.

    The Miko

  • When Hax and the gunslinger reached the top, the gunslinger threw the noosed rope over the crosstree and then put it over the cook's head, dropping the knot until it lay just below the left ear.

    The Gunslinger

  • He crossed to the wagon and step-vaulted over the tongue and crosstree.

    This Calder Range

  • He crossed to the wagon and step-vaulted over the tongue and crosstree.

    This Calder Range

  • They paused beneath the crosstree, looking up at the dangling, twisting body.

    The Gunslinger

  • "You do that," Moichi said grimly as he tied a knot to the crosstree.

    beneath an opal moon

  • She had not remembered him so tall with shoulders gaunt and wide like the crosstree of a gallows.

    The Sound of Thunder


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  • "Stephen did not address himself directly to Captain Aubrey, who was standing by the windward hances, his eyes fixed on the maintopmast crosstrees, for that would have been improper..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 237

    February 14, 2008