main·​mast | \ ˈmān-ˌmast , -məst\

Definition of mainmast

: a sailing ship's principal mast

Examples of mainmast in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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, "There's a Reason Behind Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's Special Flag Ritual," 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, "There's a Reason Behind Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's Special Flag Ritual," 13 Oct. 2017 The whalemen spend several days cleaning the ship and themselves, from the bilges to the top of the mainmast. Longreads, "A High-End Mover Dishes on Truckstop Hierarchy, Rich People, and Moby Dick," 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, "Taste some ales while you take a sail on classic schooner Zodiac on Bellingham Bay," 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, "Sept. 2, 1985: Hey, Everyone, We Found the Titanic," 2 Sep. 2008

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.

See More

First Known Use of mainmast

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mainmast

Statistics for mainmast

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mainmast

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mainmast


main·​mast | \ ˈmān-ˌmast , -məst\

Kids Definition of mainmast

: the principal mast of a sailing ship

More from Merriam-Webster on mainmast

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mainmast Encyclopedia article about mainmast

Comments on mainmast

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


excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!