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[uh-lawft, uh-loft] /əˈlɔft, əˈlɒft/
high up; far above the ground.
  1. on the masts; in the rigging; overhead.
  2. (on a square-rigged sailing ship) in the upper rigging, specifically, on or above the lower yards (opposed to alow).
in or into the air.
on or at the top of:
flags flying aloft the castle.
Origin of aloft
1150-1200; Middle English o loft; < Old Norse ā lopt in the air; see a-1, loft Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for aloft
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The wind was very light, and studding-sails were set alow and aloft.

    Outward Bound Oliver Optic
  • A good look-out was kept for men, from aloft, but none were seen from any of the vessels.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • They came—the last stopping the boat—throwing it aloft—letting it drop—and crests of angry waves curled over the side.

    The Rainbow Trail Zane Grey
  • Saying no word, out of his lair he came with that terrible sword of his aloft.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • And we could hear Ed Gurney whoop when he held a tin of it aloft.

    Sonnie-Boy's People James B. Connolly
  • The celebrant kissed the tablet, and held it aloft before all the people.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • With eyes now turned from aloft to ahead, we retyped our seamanship to meet the altered conditions of the veer in our outlook.

    Merchantmen-at-Arms David W. Bone
  • No living thing would that loathly one leave as aloft it flew.

    Beowulf Anonymous
  • At least, if thou art harmed because of this loose quean, my axe will be aloft.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for aloft


adverb, adjective (postpositive)
in or into a high or higher place; up above
(nautical) in or into the rigging of a vessel
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse ā lopt in the air; see lift1, loft
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aloft

c.1200, from a Scandinavian source; cf. Old Norse a lopti "up above," literally "up in the air," from a "in, on" + lopt "sky, air, atmosphere; loft, upper room" (cf. Gothic luftus, Old High German luft, Old English lyft "air;" see loft).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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