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[spon-suh n] /ˈspɒn sən/
a structure projecting from the side or main deck of a vessel to support a gun or the outer edge of a paddle box.
a buoyant appendage at the gunwale of a canoe to resist capsizing.
Aeronautics. a protuberance at the side of a flying-boat hull, designed to increase lateral stability in the water.
Origin of sponson
1825-35; variant of expansion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sponson
Historical Examples
  • There he lay, along one side of the tank between the engine and the sponson.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • His tun of a torso bulged roundly out in front of me like the sponson of a battleship.

    Yellowstone Nights Herbert Quick
  • He leaned on the rail and watched the departure of the officer of the faded blue cap with his crew of the sponson boat.

  • The cutter jingled her full-speed bell while the tackle was still lifting the sponson boat.

  • An eager gunner endeavoured to pass one of the tanks, but his gun caught the sponson and slipped off into the mud.

    A Company of Tanks W. H. L. Watson
  • A bomb exploded directly beneath the sponson, where the dead body had fallen.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • McKnutt signalled to him, and he opened fire from his sponson.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
British Dictionary definitions for sponson


(navy) an outboard support for a gun enabling it to fire fore and aft
a semicircular gun turret on the side of a tank
a float or flotation chamber along the gunwale of a boat or ship
a structural projection from the side of a paddle steamer for supporting a paddle wheel
a structural unit attached to a helicopter fuselage by fixed struts, housing the main landing gear and inflatable flotation bags
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from expansion
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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