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[meyn-seyl; Nautical meyn-suh l] /ˈmeɪnˌseɪl; Nautical ˈmeɪn səl/
noun, Nautical
the lowermost sail on a mainmast.
Origin of mainsail
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English; see main1, sail Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mainsail
Historical Examples
  • The wind still increasing, at seven the first reef in the mainsail was also taken in, jibs shifted, and the bowsprit reefed.

  • A mainsail carried by a gaff has two halyards, the throat and peak.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • Boom—The spar used to extend the foot of the mainsail or foresail.

    On Yacht Sailing Thomas Fleming Day
  • "She'll go a bit tauter still, I think," he said, as Nell hoisted the mainsail.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills Charles Garvice
  • The mainsail was a big stretch of canvas and carried a main-boom sixty-five feet long.

    The Viking Blood Frederick William Wallace
  • The mainsail was set to a chorus like the crying of sea fowl and the foresail and jib.

    The Beach of Dreams H. De Vere Stacpoole
  • The second shot from the latter was well directed; it grazed our mast and carried away the luff of the mainsail.

  • He has put her before the wind, and is trying to hoist his mainsail.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • Two or three times Mr. Robert heads the Pyxie up into it and debates about takin' in the mainsail.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • "Those canvas straps with which the mainsail is tied up," he explained.

    Desk and Debit Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for mainsail


/ˈmeɪnˌseɪl; nautical ˈmeɪnsəl/
(nautical) the largest and lowermost sail on the mainmast
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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mainsail in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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