top·​sail | \ ˈtäp-ˌsāl How to pronounce topsail (audio) , -səl \
variants: or less commonly tops'l \ ˈtäp-​səl How to pronounce topsail (audio) \

Definition of topsail

1 : the sail next above the lowermost sail on a mast in a square-rigged ship
2 : the sail set above and sometimes on the gaff in a fore-and-aft rigged ship

Examples of topsail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An hour later, Bernier was above deck on the topsail of the submarine with an M-60 machine gun., 10 Sep. 2021 Help hoist the sails of the Schooner Freedom, a massive topsail schooner captained by John and Sarah Zaruba. Kara Franker, Southern Living, 30 June 2020 But nautical history buffs – and others – can sail on a replica of this 102-foot-long, square-rigged topsail sloop from its home at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven out into Lake Michigan until the end of September. Brian E. Clark, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 June 2018 Most people today associate billowing topsails with pirates. Jennifer Larino,, 6 Mar. 2018 Moreland, who has more than 30 years experience sailing topsail schooners, brigantines, brigs and barques, as well as five world voyages under his belt, said the Picton Castle will be hosting a range of school groups on the vessel. Jennifer Larino,, 6 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of topsail

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of topsail was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near topsail



topsail schooner

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Cite this Entry

“Topsail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for topsail


top·​sail | \ ˈtäp-ˌsāl How to pronounce topsail (audio) , -səl \

Kids Definition of topsail

1 : the sail next above the lowest sail on a mast in a square-rigged ship
2 : the sail above the large sail on a mast in a ship with a fore-and-aft rig


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