main·​sail | \ ˈmān-ˌsāl How to pronounce mainsail (audio) , ˈmān(t)-səl How to pronounce mainsail (audio) \

Definition of mainsail

: the principal sail on the mainmast — see sail illustration

Examples of mainsail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the tip of Shelter Island, several hundred dignitaries and well-wishers applauded when Sharon, dressed in pink and looking very dainty, hauled down the mainsail of her craft, furled it and docked with an ease no mail sailor could fault. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: In 1969 San Diego greeted woman who sailed Pacific Ocean alone," 25 July 2019 After 1,500 nautical miles, the expedition was scuppered when storms irreparably damaged the mainsail of his support boat. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "Long-distance swimmer dives into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," 11 Dec. 2019 The teens repeat the call, then rhythmically tug the line, slowly, steadily, raising the boat’s mainsail and boom, a combined weight of some 3,000 pounds. Billboard, "Aboard the Clearwater: Five Decades of Environmental Activism Rooted In Music," 13 June 2018 Then came the big moment: The scow began to heel to one side, its mainsail dipping toward the water. Simon Peter Groebner,, "Come sail away at this fun northern Minnesota resort on Lake Vermilion," 6 June 2018 On a two-sail boat like this one (called a sloop), the emphasis is on the mainsail (B), the sail nearer the stern (H), which is the rearmost or aft part of the boat. Popular Mechanics, "The Beginner's Guide To Sailing," 18 May 2018 There was no Hard Rock Cafe, no Gaslamp Hilton, not even a San Diego Convention Center, the mainsail of the area's trade-show industry that opened in 1989. Jeff Mcdonald,, "San Diego hosts Super Bowl," 26 Jan. 2018 Two years ago Wild Oats shredded its mainsail in fierce winds while sailing down Australia's east coast in the Sydney-Hobart. Euan Mckirdy, CNN, "Sydney-Hobart yacht race result overturned after protest," 28 Dec. 2017 New Donk City is Nintendo's gift to social media, the mainsail on the odd ship that is Super Mario Odyssey and kindling for wry Reddit jokes like this one. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "Super Mario Odyssey," 1 Nov. 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for mainsail

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mainsail

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mainsail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mainsail


How to pronounce mainsail (audio) How to pronounce mainsail (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mainsail

: the largest sail of a sailing ship


main·​sail | \ ˈmān-ˌsāl How to pronounce mainsail (audio) , -səl \

Kids Definition of mainsail

: the principal sail on the mainmast

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mainsail

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