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gunwale

[guhn-l] /ˈgʌn l/
noun, Nautical
1.
the upper edge of the side or bulwark of a vessel.
2.
the sheer strake of a wooden vessel; the uppermost strake beneath the plank-sheer.
Origin of gunwale
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English. See gun1, wale1; a plank so called because guns were set upon it
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for gunwale

gunwale

/ˈɡʌnəl/
noun
1.
(nautical) the top of the side of a boat or the topmost plank of a wooden vessel
2.
full to the gunwales, completely full; full to overflowing
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 gunwale
n.

mid-15c., gonne walle, from gun (n.) + wale "plank" (see wale). Originally a platform on the deck of a ship to support the mounted guns.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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