gun·​wale | \ ˈgə-nᵊl \
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 upmarket tester boasted a lovely interior loaded to the gunwales with standard gear. Al Haas,, "Refreshed for 2019, Buick Envision is roomy, comfortable, and quiet," 12 July 2018 Gaze over the gunwales and listen: There’s an egret rookery out on Indian Island. Robert Earle Howells,, "Insider: A sea captain’s guide to Eureka," 5 July 2018 The deadrise was sitting upright, so Thomas Reed vaulted its gunwales and walked up its deck to the cabin. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 Each canoe is handcrafted: Resin layers are brushed on, rivets are attached individually around the gunwales. Michael Stilwell, Popular Mechanics, "Made in the USA: One Awesome Thing Built in Each State," 29 June 2017 For example, mark a pole, leader and float, or the gunwale of the boat with measurements for the legal retention size. Saryn Chorney,, "National Oceanic Administration and Shark Tagging Program Issues Statement About 'Sexy Shark Wrangler' Amid Backlash," 21 May 2018 The trip started slowly but quickly ramped up, with a variety of species -- including redfish, speckled trout, marsh bass and more -- coming over the gunwale. Todd Masson,, "How to find fish in unfamiliar marsh," 24 Apr. 2018 Other changes include a thicker polyurethane insole and a shin guard along the front of the boot for those grueling hours leaning over the gunwales. Melissa Devaughn, Anchorage Daily News, "Iconic in Alaska, classic Xtratuf boot gets a redesign," 31 Mar. 2018 While riding on Jeb’s boat on Lake Burton, a DNR officer stopped the boat and was about to issue a safety citation to Sam for riding on the gunwale of the boat. Loran Smith, ajc, "Like father, like son in every aspect," 22 Nov. 2017

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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near gunwale

gun toting







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Time Traveler for gunwale

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

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More Definitions for gunwale



English Language Learners Definition of gunwale

: the upper edge of a ship's or boat's side


gun·​wale | \ ˈgə-nᵊl \

Kids Definition of gunwale

: the upper edge of a ship's side

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More from Merriam-Webster on gunwale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gunwale

Spanish Central: Translation of gunwale

Nglish: Translation of gunwale for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gunwale

What made you want to look up gunwale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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