spin·​na·​ker ˈspi-ni-kər How to pronounce spinnaker (audio)
: a large triangular sail set on a long light pole and used when running before the wind

Examples of spinnaker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This time, with the wind at our back, Henke unfurled a royal-blue spinnaker, a lightweight three-cornered sail perfect for the present wind conditions. Ingrid K. Williams, New York Times, 25 July 2023 Two instructors, competitive sailors though barely older, demonstrated how to attach a lightweight spinnaker to sail off wind. Joanna Daemmrich, Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2022 The way his majestic purple mohair coat (circa 1960) uses straight and bias grain to take weight off the shoulders and let the back sail like a spinnaker is stunning. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, 15 June 2022 The mid-tach torque comes on like the tug of a filling spinnaker (310 lb-ft at 1,900 rpm). Dan Neil, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2022 Our readers are obsessed with the Coopers Town Stripe Quarter Zip Pullover, which is available in gray and spinnaker. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, 14 Aug. 2020 Team Vineyard Vines is traveling from Connecticut, with a giant pink whale on its spinnaker sail. Laura Johnston, cleveland.com, 11 Sep. 2019 Mafia Deep Blue Bag Best for: Vacationing sea monsters The shell of the Deep Blue gets its crinkly feel from recycled spinnaker sails. Michael Calore, WIRED, 9 July 2018 The boat heels suddenly while the crew lets out a ballooning spinnaker to catch even more wind as Team Brunel swerves to within a few meters of a competitor. Time, 16 Feb. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spinnaker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spinnaker was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near spinnaker

Cite this Entry

“Spinnaker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spinnaker. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


spin·​na·​ker ˈspin-i-kər How to pronounce spinnaker (audio)
: a large triangular sail set on a long light pole and used when sailing with the wind pushing from behind or nearly so
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