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 Another is sitting on the bowsprit as the boat’s prow dips in and out of the water in a strong wind, my hair whipping around my head, the sails full of wind. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Billie Jean King’s Long Beach roots," 24 Sep. 2019 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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Time Traveler for bowsprit

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

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Cite this Entry

“Bowsprit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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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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