da·​vit ˈdā-vət How to pronounce davit (audio) ˈda- How to pronounce davit (audio)
: a crane that projects over the side of a ship or a hatchway and is used especially for boats, anchors, or cargo

Illustration of davit

Illustration of davit

Examples of davit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s placed on a table that’s secured to scaffolds suspended by cranes or davit systems from the roof. Stephanie Cain, Fortune, 11 Jan. 2024 The film also depicts some lifeboats being lowered on top of each other as Titanic sank lower and lower into the ocean, with people in the boats frantically sawing through the davit ropes with pocket knives to avoid collisions. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 6 Feb. 2023 One former officer said that a manual for a davit, a type of crane used to lower a search-and-rescue boat, was written in Norwegian. Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, 23 Nov. 2015 Another crew member was a Titanic obsessive—his endless talk of davits and well decks still rattles in my head. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, 1 July 2023

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

Word History


Middle English daviot, from Anglo-French, from Middle French daviet joiner's cramp, diminutive of david cramp, probably from the name David

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near davit

Cite this Entry

“Davit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/davit. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: one of a pair of posts with curved arms having ropes and pulleys attached and used especially on ships to raise and lower small boats
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!