gun·​wale | \ ˈgə-nᵊl How to pronounce gunwale (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of gunwale

: the upper edge of a ship's or boat's side
to the gunwales
: as fully as possible The doorbell rang, and Flanagan let in his wife, who was loaded to the gunwales with groceries.— Whitney Balliett

Examples of gunwale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The weight of that many passengers caused rising waves to lap at the tops of the gunwale — the lone protector against catastrophic swamping. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Oct. 2021 But if the cormorants are being hunted, what explains the presence on each boat of an unperturbed bird perched on the gunwale? Washington Post, 23 June 2021 On a recent visit, shipwright Matteo Tamassia, whose gondolas can take a month or more to construct, discussed an improvement to the gunwale with a fellow boat-maker who dropped by. Avedis Hadjian, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 June 2021 Drill and screw the snap studs onto the inboard side of the gunwale. Ryan Chelius, Field & Stream, 18 Feb. 2021 The man in short sleeves bent over the Lazora’s starboard gunwale and vomited red fluid. New York Times, 28 Jan. 2021 Some boats can’t be fitted with rod holder mounts that fit flush against a gunwale or transom. The Editors, Field & Stream, 26 Feb. 2020 At this point another boat glided by, its gunwales lined with tourists staring into the cameras. Christopher Borrelli,, 2 Oct. 2019 Near the bow Marina Antonopoulou, with Emirates Nature-World Wildlife Fund, perches on the gunwale. Craig Welch, National Geographic, 20 Sep. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of gunwale

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gunwale

Middle English gonne-wale, from gonne gun + wale entry 1; from its former use as a support for guns

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The first known use of gunwale was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Gunwale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for gunwale


gun·​wale | \ ˈgə-nᵊl How to pronounce gunwale (audio) \

Kids Definition of gunwale

: the upper edge of a ship's side

More from Merriam-Webster on gunwale

Nglish: Translation of gunwale for Spanish Speakers


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