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or halliard

[hal-yerd] /ˈhæl yərd/
any of various lines or tackles for hoisting a spar, sail, flag, etc., into position for use.
Origin of halyard
1325-75; Middle English halier rope to haul with (see hale2, -ier1) with final syllable altered by association with yard1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for halyard
Historical Examples
  • Then set up hard on the halyard, using the windlass or watch-tackle.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • He was not a strong man, but he did the best he could at the halyard, and the mate was satisfied with him.

    The Coming Wave Oliver Optic
  • Scarcely, indeed, had I made fast the halyard than I beheld on the very verge of the horizon what seemed to be a vessel.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
  • "It is all up with us," said Mr. Carboy, the mate, as he dropped the halyard.

    The Coming Wave Oliver Optic
  • Look here, said Stuart firmly, recalling his mind from halyard and jib, this must be attended to at once.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • And, knotting the Luttrell flag on the halyard, he hoisted it in a moment.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • The Spaniards found themselves obliged to retreat to the poop, and cut the halyard of the mainsail.

  • Led on by halyard, they sprang on the deck, and pressed forward in a mass.

    Hildebrand Anonymous
  • Neale went up to the roof and mounted the staff with the halyard rove through the block, and hooked the latter in place with ease.

  • Here, indeed, was a sailor hoist to his own yard-arm with his own halyard.

    Terre Napoleon Ernest Scott
British Dictionary definitions for halyard


(nautical) a line for hoisting or lowering a sail, flag, or spar
Word Origin
C14: halier, influenced by yard1; see hale²
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 halyard

"rope for hoisting sails," 1610s, from Middle English halier "a halyard" (late 14c.), also "a carrier, porter" (late 13c. in surnames), from halen "to haul" (see hale (v.)). Spelling influenced by yard "long beam that supports a sail" (see yard (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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