main·​mast ˈmān-ˌmast How to pronounce mainmast (audio)
: a sailing ship's principal mast

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Minutes later, the English ship — the Fancy, under the command of the notorious pirate captain Henry Every — had closed on the Mughal vessel and shattered its 40-foot mainmast with a single, fluke cannon shot. Adam Higginbotham, New York Times, 12 May 2020 Resting on deck, leaning against the mainmast, was a small wooden boat for ferrying crew members to and from the larger ship. William J. Broad, New York Times, 22 July 2019 In 1866, a special insignia—a square blue flag with a white foul anchor in the center and four white stars at each corner—was designed to fly from the mainmast of a vessel whenever the Secretary of the Navy was aboard. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 13 Oct. 2017 For instance, Luebke adds, the President's flag has historically flown at the mainmast while a different flag for the Vice President is flown at the slightly shorter foremast. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 13 Oct. 2017 The whalemen spend several days cleaning the ship and themselves, from the bilges to the top of the mainmast. Longreads, 21 Sep. 2017 The mainsail boom, itself a tree trunk almost as thick as the 12-story-high mainmast, is a varnished work of art as sun glints off the wood’s whorls and knots. Brian J. Cantwell, The Seattle Times, 19 July 2017 The location of the Titanic is no longer a secret, and Ballard said submarines have bumped into it and landed on it, destroying its mainmast and damaging large areas of the deck. Randy Alfred, WIRED, 2 Sep. 2008 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near mainmast

Cite this Entry

“Mainmast.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



main·​mast ˈmān-ˌmast How to pronounce mainmast (audio)
: the principal mast of a sailing ship

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