helms·​man | \ˈhelmz-mən \

Definition of helmsman 

: the person at the helm : steersman

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Other Words from helmsman

helmsmanship \ˈhelmz-​mən-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of helmsman in a Sentence

had a complaint and demanded to talk to the helmsman of this vast construction project, not some underling

Recent Examples on the Web

Ron Berens, the lead helmsman onboard and at the wheel on January 23, 1968 when North Korean MiG fighter jets and patrol opened fire on the American spy ship, leading to the first capture of a U.S. Navy ship since the War of 1812. Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News, "USS Pueblo spy ship crew tell Trump to bring vessel home from North Korea," 22 Sep. 2018 The team has named Dean Barker—a Cup vet from New Zealand now living in the U.S.—as a helmsman and earlier this year finished second in the Congressional Cup, a prestigious test event. Aaron Kuriloff, WSJ, "New York Yacht Club Has Sights Set on the America’s Cup," 15 Aug. 2018 Burling had the higher profile, becoming the youngest helmsman in the Cup’s 167-year history to win it. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "At the Volvo Ocean Race, Teammates Turn Into Rivals, for Now," 17 May 2018 Russian women, for example, cannot be ship’s helmsmen (in order, apparently, to protect their reproductive health). The Economist, "Many countries suffer from shrinking working-age populations," 5 May 2018 Mr Xi, after all, is now being called the Communist Party’s core, helmsman of the country and the people’s leader—all titles associated with Mao Zedong. The Economist, "China’s President Xi Jinping designates some sidekicks," 22 Mar. 2018 It was ingrained in the language: seaman, helmsman, fisherman, longshoreman, yachtsman. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, "Young Oakland woman part of maritime industry’s new guard," 27 Jan. 2018 The National Transportation Safety Board panel found that a rigid bridge hierarchy contributed to the disaster because officers and helmsmen were reluctant to contest his decision. Author: Ian Simpson, Anchorage Daily News, "Captain’s overconfidence and poor crew training sank El Faro, NTSB says," 13 Dec. 2017 The move, intended to make operating the ship more manageable, ended up taking away the helmsman’s ability to steer. Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-neff And Helene Cooper, New York Times, "Navy Collisions That Killed 17 Sailors Were ‘Avoidable,’ Official Inquiry Says," 1 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'helmsman.' 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 helmsman

1590, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near helmsman


helm port

helm roof





Statistics for helmsman

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for helmsman

The first known use of helmsman was in 1590

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English Language Learners Definition of helmsman

: a person (especially a man) who steers a ship or boat

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Comments on helmsman

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


a knickknack or trinket

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