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[sprit] /sprɪt/
noun, Nautical
a small pole or spar crossing a fore-and-aft sail diagonally from the mast to the upper aftermost corner, serving to extend the sail.
Origin of sprit
before 900; Middle English spret, Old English sprēot; cognate with Dutch, German Spriet; akin to sprout Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sprit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'll try and set the mainsail on her with the remains of the sprit.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • In this case the sprit requires little shifting or attention.

    Man on the Ocean R.M. Ballantyne
  • Because of the use of the sprit and heel tackle, the conventional method of reefing was not possible.

  • Fit the loop in the notch in the lower end of the sprit, and the sail is set.

    Boat-Building and Boating Daniel Carter Beard
  • Then I removed the sprit, tightly hauling down the peak of the sail, and we raced along under what sailors call a leg-of-mutton.

    The Sea-Wolf Jack London
  • The sheet is attached to the end of the sprit (Figs. 164-168).

    Boat-Building and Boating Daniel Carter Beard
  • They had already made a step and sprit, and, with a calico sail hoisted, the frail craft ran before a light breeze.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • The sprit is connected with the yard by what sailors call a crotch.

  • Let these spars be of pine, or spruce, or bamboo—as light as possible, especially the sprit.

    Boat-Building and Boating Daniel Carter Beard
British Dictionary definitions for sprit


(nautical) a light spar pivoted at the mast and crossing a fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail diagonally to the peak
Word Origin
Old English spreot; related to Old High German spriuzen to support, Dutch spriet sprit, Norwegian sprӯta
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 sprit

Old English spreot "pole," originally "a sprout, shoot, branch," from root of sprout. Cognate with Middle Dutch spriet, Middle Low German spryet, German spriet, North Frisian sprit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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