bow·​sprit | \ ˈbau̇-ˌsprit How to pronounce bowsprit (audio) , British usually ˈbō-\

Definition of bowsprit

: a large spar projecting forward from the stem of a ship

Examples of bowsprit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The sandbaggers are shallow, 28 feet long with a 10-foot bowsprit. Washington Post, "Take Someone Sailing Day gives newbie sailors nautical skills," 6 July 2019 Using toothpicks or wooden sticks from cotton swabs, make masts, booms and the spar extending from the vessel’s front prow, which is called the bowsprit. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Build a Ship in a Bottle," 12 Jan. 2018 Once at the ship, the excavation team will look for proof that the ship is the Lake Serpent, such as identifying the sea-serpent figurehead below the bowsprit of the vessel and limestone in the cargo hold. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "Shipwreck in Lake Erie Could Date From 1829," 24 Apr. 2018 Maynard’s crew relieved the dead man of his head, carrying it off on Jane’s bowsprit as proof of their achievement. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Ten Major Anniversaries Worth Traveling For This Year," 30 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of bowsprit

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bowsprit

Middle English bouspret, probably from Middle Low German boochspreet, from booch bow + spreet pole

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Statistics for bowsprit

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for bowsprit

The first known use of bowsprit was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for bowsprit


bow·​sprit | \ ˈbau̇-ˌsprit How to pronounce bowsprit (audio) , ˈbō-\

Kids Definition of bowsprit

: a large spar sticking out forward from the bow of a ship

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bowsprit

Comments on bowsprit

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to complain fretfully

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