boat·​swain | \ ˈbō-sᵊn How to pronounce boatswain (audio) \
variants: or or less commonly bos'n or bo's'n or bo'sun

Definition of boatswain

1 : a petty officer on a merchant ship having charge of hull maintenance and related work
2 : a naval warrant officer in charge of the hull and all related equipment

Examples of boatswain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The boatswain's mate of the watch is a petty officer who assists the OOD and ensures all bridge watch stations. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "How do Navy ships operate?," 18 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boatswain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of boatswain

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for boatswain

Middle English bootswein, from boot boat + swein boy, servant — more at swain

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Time Traveler for boatswain

The first known use of boatswain was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of boatswain

: an officer on a ship whose job is to take care of the main body of the ship and all the ship's equipment


boat·​swain | \ ˈbō-sᵊn How to pronounce boatswain (audio) \

Kids Definition of boatswain

: a warrant officer on a warship or a petty officer on a commercial ship who has charge of the hull, anchors, boats, and rigging

More from Merriam-Webster on boatswain

Spanish Central: Translation of boatswain

Nglish: Translation of boatswain for Spanish Speakers

Comments on boatswain

What made you want to look up boatswain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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