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[uh-sturn] /əˈstɜrn/
in a position behind a specified vessel or aircraft:
The cutter was following close astern.
in a backward direction:
The steamer went astern at half speed.
Origin of astern
1620-30; a-1 + stern2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for astern
  • The wounded had been dragged to the after-torpedo room, the compartment farthest astern.
  • By mid-afternoon, the sinking island far astern is smothered by incoming mists.
  • With his departure star astern and his destination star ahead, he could keep to his course.
  • It employs an underwater towed body acoustic projector, which is towed astern of the host ship by a fiber optic tow cable.
  • The baits skipped near the surface almost ten fathoms astern.
  • The annual validation decals must be affixed within six inches astern of the registration number.
  • By trailing wire astern and counting revolutions, one can determine distances.
British Dictionary definitions for astern


adverb, adjective (postpositive) (nautical)
at or towards the stern
with the stern first: full speed astern!
aft of the stern of a vessel
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 astern

1620s, from a- (1) "on" + stern (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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