windlass

noun
wind·​lass | \ ˈwin(d)-ləs How to pronounce windlass (audio) \

Definition of windlass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of various machines for hoisting or hauling: such as
a : a horizontal barrel supported on vertical posts and turned by a crank so that the hoisting rope is wound around the barrel
b : a steam or electric winch with horizontal or vertical shaft and two drums used to raise a ship's anchor

windlass

verb
windlassed; windlassing; windlasses

Definition of windlass (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to hoist or haul with a windlass

Examples of windlass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to the museum, a large wooden windlass - a type of winch - that staff from Ludington State Park found a few years ago may also be from the same wreck. CBS News, "Shipwreck fragment from 1800s emerges along Lake Michigan beach near "notoriously dangerous" waters," 4 May 2020 Other artifacts that will help archaeologists further identify and date the shipwreck include ceramic dinnerware, glass bottles, stoneware jugs, an anchor, wire rope rigging, a windlass, and a ship's bell, reported NOAA. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "NOAA researchers discover two unexplored shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico," 30 July 2019 Most tourniquets are called windlass-style tourniquets. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "A Former Green Beret Rethinks the Standard-Issue Tourniquet," 16 Apr. 2019 Cranes, windlasses and capstans (ancient water-raising devices based on a kind of swinging, see-saw design) may well have inspired the use of counterweights in early elevators and hoists. Adrienne Bernhard, Smithsonian, "Elevators Are Going Green," 27 Apr. 2018 Other artifacts that will help archaeologists further identify and date the shipwreck include ceramic dinnerware, glass bottles, stoneware jugs, an anchor, wire rope rigging, a windlass, and a ship's bell, reported NOAA. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "NOAA researchers discover two unexplored shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico," 30 July 2019 Most tourniquets are called windlass-style tourniquets. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "A Former Green Beret Rethinks the Standard-Issue Tourniquet," 16 Apr. 2019 Cranes, windlasses and capstans (ancient water-raising devices based on a kind of swinging, see-saw design) may well have inspired the use of counterweights in early elevators and hoists. Adrienne Bernhard, Smithsonian, "Elevators Are Going Green," 27 Apr. 2018 The whole system is a combination of an anchor specifically designed to dig into the seabed, an enormous chain to keep it attached to the boat, and a windlass, the giant machine that lowers and raises an anchor by that chain. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "How Mega-Ships Drop Their Giant Anchors," 15 Aug. 2017

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for windlass

Noun

Middle English wyneles, wyndlas, alteration of wyndase, from Old French guindas, windas, from Old Norse vindāss, from vinda to wind (akin to Old High German wintan to wind) + āss pole; akin to Goth ans beam

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about windlass

Time Traveler for windlass

Time Traveler

The first known use of windlass was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for windlass

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Windlass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/windlass. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on windlass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with windlass

Spanish Central: Translation of windlass

Nglish: Translation of windlass for Spanish Speakers

Comments on windlass

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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