coxswain

1 of 2

noun

cox·​swain ˈkäk-sən How to pronounce coxswain (audio)
-ˌswān
1
: a sailor who has charge of a ship's boat and its crew and who usually steers
2
: a steersman of a racing shell who usually directs the rowers

coxswain

2 of 2

verb

coxswained; coxswaining; coxswains

transitive verb

: to direct as coxswain

intransitive verb

: to act as coxswain

Examples of coxswain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Thank heavens for Luke Slattery as the coxswain Bobby Moch, who straps on a hands-free leather and metal megaphone — a contraption that, to modern eyes, looks like a torture device for mumblers — and instantly screams some life into the picture. Amy Nicholson, New York Times, 24 Dec. 2023 The acting is solid, particularly by Hadley Robinson as Joe’s love interest, Joyce, and Luke Slattery as Bobby Moch, who as the team’s coxswain doesn’t lift an oar but is in charge of navigation and steering. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2023 With the stature of a coxswain at five foot two, Temple is an unlikely counterweight to two armed thugs. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, 13 Dec. 2023 The smoke was so thick that the coxswain could not see the bow of the ship. Riley Mellen, New York Times, 15 Aug. 2023 Hauser had been selected by a coxswain to help get other sailors to a ship. John Kelly, Washington Post, 24 July 2023 Petrick was a coxswain at the University of Rhode Island, before graduating in 2019, and was a coxswain for the crew team at Glastonbury High. Lori Riley, courant.com, 29 Aug. 2021 Usually slighter of build than the rest of the rowers, the coxswain keeps rowers focused with the sheer power of their voice. Kim O'Connell, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 July 2022 A lot of collegiate coxswains did get wet, however. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Apr. 2023
Verb
Watching her granddaughter Hannah pitch through a tough inning of softball or her granddaughter Lily coxswain for the rowing team was a marvel. Cecile Richards, Glamour, 11 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'coxswain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English cokswayne, from cok cockboat (a small boat) + swain servant

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1928, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of coxswain was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near coxswain

Cite this Entry

“Coxswain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coxswain. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

coxswain

noun
cox·​swain
ˈkäk-sən,
-ˌswān
1
: a sailor who has charge of a ship's boat and its crew
2
: a person who steers a racing shell
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