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[mast-hed, mahst-] /ˈmæstˌhɛd, ˈmɑst-/
Also called flag. a statement printed in all issues of a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually on the editorial page, giving the publication's name, the names of the owner and staff, etc.
Also called nameplate. a line of type on the front page of a newspaper or the cover of a periodical giving the name of the publication.
  1. the head of a mast.
  2. the uppermost point of a mast.
verb (used with object), Nautical
to hoist a yard to the fullest extent.
to hoist to the truck of a mast, as a flag.
to send to the upper end of a mast as a punishment.
Nautical. run up to the head of a mast:
masthead rig.
Origin of masthead
1740-50; mast1 + head Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for masthead
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We had left Juan Fernandez more than a month, when a cry came from the masthead of “Land ho!”

    Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston
  • I fastened it at the masthead, so that we could hoist and lower the sail at pleasure.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • Two or three of the ship's hands dashed up to the masthead, vowing they would not come down till they saw land.

    Vikings of the Pacific Agnes C. Laut
  • The flag of England was seen to drop from the masthead of the frigate.

    Adrift in a Boat W.H.G. Kingston
  • If your captain carried many such giants on board, I wonder that he had a spare porker to hang at his masthead.

    The Funny Philosophers George Yellott
  • Sometimes from the masthead I could see the whole ocean alive with them.

    Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston
  • The disappearance of the first periscope which had been hailed from the masthead was the cause of much discussion.

  • He then ordered True Blue to the masthead to watch the proceedings of the stranger.

    True Blue W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for masthead


  1. the head of a mast
  2. (as modifier): masthead sail
Also called flag. the name of a newspaper or periodical, its proprietors, staff, etc, printed in large type at the top of the front page
verb (transitive)
to send (a sailor) to the masthead as a punishment
to raise (a sail) to the masthead
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 masthead

1748, "top of a ship's mast" (the place for the display of flags), hence, from 1838, "top of a newspaper;" from mast (n.1) + head (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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