1 [bak-stey]
Machinery. a supporting or checking piece in a mechanism.
Building Trades. an anchored tension member, as a cable, permanently or temporarily supporting a compression member, as a tower or pole, subject to a pull above its base from the opposite direction.
a strip of leather at the back of a shoe used for reinforcement and sometimes to connect the quarters.

1860–65; back1 + stay2 Unabridged


2 [bak-stey]
Nautical. any of various shrouds forming part of a vessel's standing rigging and leading aft from masts above a lower mast to the sides or stern of the vessel in order to reinforce the masts against forward pull.

1620–30; back1 + stay3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
backstay (ˈbækˌsteɪ)
1.  nautical a stay leading aft from the upper part of a mast to the deck or stern
2.  machinery a supporting piece or arresting part
3.  anything that supports or strengthens the back of something, such as leather covering the back seam of a shoe

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
The main cable and backstay cables on cableways should consist of wire rope or structural or tramway strand.
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