a pulley, thimble, etc., used to guide a rope forming part of the rigging of a ship, crane, etc., in such a way as to prevent chafing.
Machinery. (on power shovels or cranes) a swiveling mounting for sheaves, over which cables pass.
Also, fairleader.

1855–60; fair1 + lead1

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World English Dictionary
fairlead or fairleader (ˈfɛəˌliːd)
nautical Also called: leader a block or ring through which a line is rove to keep it clear of obstructions, prevent chafing, or maintain it at an angle
fairleader or fairleader

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Example sentences
Cable skidders have a fixed arch over which the cable runs through a fairlead.
The rollers provide a low-friction fairlead for the lift wires or chains.
Smaller cables can be used but they aren't as well supported in the fairlead
  sheave grooves and will experience wear.
Test each roller chock and roller fairlead for freedom of movement.
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