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 Drill and screw the snap studs onto the inboard side of the gunwale. Ryan Chelius, Field & Stream, "How to Make a DIY Gun Rack for a Duck-Hunting Canoe," 18 Feb. 2021 The man in short sleeves bent over the Lazora’s starboard gunwale and vomited red fluid. New York Times, "Risking Everything to Come to America on the Open Ocean," 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, "Four Keys to Choosing a Fishing Rod Holder," 26 Feb. 2020 At this point another boat glided by, its gunwales lined with tourists staring into the cameras. Christopher Borrelli,, "Behind the odd charm of the ‘Batwoman’ set in Chicago, even after they kicked me off," 2 Oct. 2019 Near the bow Marina Antonopoulou, with Emirates Nature-World Wildlife Fund, perches on the gunwale. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Sea turtles are surviving—despite us," 20 Sep. 2019 Scared to put weight on the thin plywood hull, the men arranged themselves in a ring atop the gunwales, balancing skinny bodies with plump ones. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 As the car came down, four men guided it toward the I beams laid across the gunwales, securing the wheels with wooden blocks, like a truck parked on a hill. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Well over a million pounds of salmon have crossed her gunwales. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "At Bristol Bay, there’s a changing of the guard at the boatyard," 7 July 2018

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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Time Traveler for gunwale

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gunwale

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gunwale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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 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

Comments on gunwale

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