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[yahrd-ahrm] /ˈyɑrdˌɑrm/
noun, Nautical.
either of the outer portions of the yard of a square sail.
Origin of yardarm
1545-55; yard1 + arm1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for yardarm
Historical Examples
  • All very fine; but it was an act of piracy, for which he could have been hanged at the yardarm.

  • Above, along the yardarm and up the ratlines swarmed his bowmen.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • "He'd look remarkably well from a yardarm, sir," returned the captain.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The wind flapped their small sail and the yardarm wobbled badly.

    The Trail of a Sourdough May Kellogg Sullivan
  • If we do not get to Tarragona by four o'clock this afternoon, I will have you hung from the yardarm.

    The White Plumes of Navarre Samuel Rutherford Crockett
  • Arbuthnot was hanged from the yardarm of his own schooner; Ambrister was shot.

    Union and Democracy Allen Johnson
  • It seems that a foremast hand on board the ship which had brought him hither fell from the yardarm into the sea.

    The Story of Malta Maturin M. Ballou
  • A fortnight later Parker swung from the yardarm of that ship.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • He was a pirate; and you have only anticipated his suspension at a yardarm.

    The Treasure of Pearls Gustave Aimard
  • If you're Westwood, I can tell you, they'll run ye up to a yardarm, sir!

    The Green Hand George Cupples
British Dictionary definitions for yardarm


(nautical) the two tapering outer ends of a ship's yard
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 yardarm

also yard-arm, 1550s, from yard (n.2) + arm (n.1). In 19c. British naval custom, it was permissible to begin drinking when the sun was over the yard-arm.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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