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[fid] /fɪd/
noun, Nautical
a stout bar of wood or metal placed across a lower spar so as to support a higher one.
a stout bar used to hold a running bowsprit in its extended position.
a wooden or metal pin for parting strands of a rope.
a bar or pin used as a key or toggle.
Origin of fid
1605-15; origin uncertain


a combining form meaning “divided,” “lobed,” occurring in adjectives borrowed from Latin (bifid); on this model, used in the formation of compound words (pinnatifid).
< Latin -fidus divided, equivalent to -fid- (variant stem of findere to split) + -us adj. suffix


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fid
Historical Examples
  • He accordingly shut the great doors, and put the fid into the staple.

  • Heeling is the square part of the spar through which the fid hole is cut.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • fid immediately handed a brace of pistols and a dirk to True Blue, and together they rushed aft.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston
  • The rope which fid secured made the task comparatively, easy.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston
  • Dr. Reasono took a fid, and with its end he traced all the desired objects with great readiness and skill.

    The Monikins J. Fenimore Cooper
  • The doors cannot be opened again until the fid is taken out.

  • To prevent his companions from seizing his weapons, fid drew them from his pocket and bolted off with them round the deck.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston
  • The fid should always be fastened to the cross-trees or trestle-trees, by a lanyard.

    The Seaman's Friend Richard Henry Dana
  • No Gipples appeared, and fid felt sure that he must have slipped purposely overboard.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston
  • Duodecim′fid, divided into twelve parts; Duodec′imo, formed of sheets folded so as to make twelve leaves.

British Dictionary definitions for fid


noun (nautical)
a spike for separating strands of rope in splicing
a wooden or metal bar for supporting the heel of a topmast
Word Origin
C17: of unknown origin


combining form
divided into parts or lobes: bifid, pinnatifid
Word Origin
from Latin -fidus, from findere to split
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 fid


word-forming element meaning "split, divided into parts," from Latin -fidus, related to findere "to split" (see fissure).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for fid


free induction decay


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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