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[meyn-mast, -mahst; Nautical meyn-muh st] /ˈmeɪnˌmæst, -ˌmɑst; Nautical ˈmeɪn məst/
noun, Nautical
the second mast from forward in any ship having two or more masts, except for a yawl, ketch, or dandy.
the larger forward mast of a yawl, ketch, or dandy.
the sole mast of any of various ships, as sloops or cutters.
1475-85; main1 + mast1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mainmast
  • Aft, and adjacent to the mainmast are four additional, enclosed berths.
  • The trestletree attached the mainmast to the topmast of schooners.
  • The roof is surmounted by a modern radar on a short mast and a short mainmast with lights mounted atop.
  • The mainmast was clipped off during this engagement.
  • The foremast was gone, but the mainmast was standing.
  • The string of flags strung from the top of the mainmast was the pride of the crew.
  • Her spars are completed and the builders promise to have her mainmast stepped within an hour after the boat's taking the water.
  • Fore and mainmast gone, and jib-boom gone, with their sails and rigging.
British Dictionary definitions for mainmast


(nautical) the chief mast of a sailing vessel with two or more masts, being the foremast of a yawl, ketch, or dandy and the second mast from the bow of most others
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 mainmast

16c., from main (adj.) + mast (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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