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[fawr-seyl, fohr-; Nautical fawr-suh l, fohr-] /ˈfɔrˌseɪl, ˈfoʊr-; Nautical ˈfɔr səl, ˈfoʊr-/
noun, Nautical
the lowermost sail on a foremast.
the staysail or jib, set immediately forward of the mainmast of a sloop, cutter, knockabout, yawl, ketch, or dandy.
Origin of foresail
1475-85; fore- + sail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for foresail
Historical Examples
  • Priscilla, on her knees under the foresail, tugged at the anchor rope.

    Priscilla's Spies George A. Birmingham
  • The fore-topsail had been mended as well as the foresail, and was set anew.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The foresail only was set, to prevent the ship from striking with too great force.

    The Settlers William H. G. Kingston
  • The foresail and fore-topsail we managed to save, but all our light canvass went.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Boom—The spar used to extend the foot of the mainsail or foresail.

    On Yacht Sailing Thomas Fleming Day
  • Captain Truck now ordered the foresail, which, by this time was ready, to be set.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • A knife drawn across the fore halyards would bring the foresail down, and put an end to our liberty in twenty minutes.

    The Mirror of the Sea Joseph Conrad
  • An' see that big one with a patch in her foresail an' a new jib?

    "Captains Courageous" Rudyard Kipling
  • The vessel then luffed into the wind, in defiance of the helm, and the first shake of the foresail stripped it from the bolt rope.

    Sea Stories Various
  • "I would rather not stop any longer," I replied, running up the foresail.

    Breaking Away Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for foresail


/ˈfɔːˌseɪl; nautical ˈfɔːsəl/
noun (nautical)
the aftermost headsail of a fore-and-aft rigged vessel
the lowest sail set on the foremast of a square-rigged 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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