span·​ker | \ ˈspaŋ-kər How to pronounce spanker (audio) \

Definition of spanker

1 : the fore-and-aft sail on the mast nearest the stern of a square-rigged ship
2 : the sail on the mast nearest the stern of a schooner of four or more masts

Examples of spanker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If this season’s crop of romances is anything to go by, there’s no general rush to the whip: E. L. James and a few other spankers may have both stirred up a vast market and satisfied it. Robert Gottlieb, New York Times, 26 Sep. 2017 The women at the observatory used fly spankers, which sound like something from 50 Shades of Grey. National Geographic, 25 Dec. 2016

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

First Known Use of spanker

1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for spanker

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for spanker

Time Traveler

The first known use of spanker was in 1794

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Dictionary Entries Near spanker



spanker boom

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Cite this Entry

“Spanker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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