1 [yawl]
a ship's small boat, rowed by a crew of four or six.
a two-masted, fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel having a large mainmast and a smaller jiggermast or mizzenmast stepped abaft the sternpost.
Compare ketch.

1660–70; < Dutch jol kind of boat < ?

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2 [yawl]
noun, verb (used without object), verb (used with object) British Dialect.
yowl; howl.

1300–50; Middle English; cf. yowl

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yawl1 (jɔːl)
1.  ketch Compare sloop a two-masted sailing vessel, rigged fore-and-aft, with a large mainmast and a small mizzenmast stepped aft of the rudderpost
2.  a ship's small boat, usually rowed by four or six oars
[C17: from Dutch jol or Middle Low German jolle, of unknown origin]

yawl2 (jɔːl)
dialect (Brit) (intr) to howl, weep, or scream harshly; yowl
[C14: from Low German jaulen; see yowl]

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Encyclopedia Britannica


two-masted sailboat, usually rigged with one or more jibsails, a mainsail, and a mizzen. In common with the ketch, the forward (main) mast is higher than the mizzenmast, but the mizzenmast of a yawl is placed astern of the rudder post, while that of the ketch is closer amidships. Like most modern pleasure boats, yawls are rigged with fore-and-aft sails (in line with the keel), the most effective rigging in utilizing manpower. The word yawl is sometimes applied to a dinghy and to a light fishing vessel rigged with lugsails.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Two couples sail their yawl into the heart of a hurricane and into the stormy seas of their relationships.
The crew all left the vessel in the yawl, except the mate, who preferred to stick to the schooner.
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