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Definition of "mainsail" []

  • The principal sail of a vessel. (noun)
  • A quadrilateral or triangular sail set from the after part of the mainmast on a fore-and-aft rigged vessel. (noun)
  • A square sail set from the main yard on a square-rigged vessel. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "mainsail" in a sentence
  • "One model, of a full-rigged ship, twenty-five feet in length, with skysail yards and all sails set, precise in every minutest detail aloft and alow, was undamaged save for a rent in her mainsail from a fragment of shell."
  • "But the big mainsail is still on, and the staysail, jib, and flying-jib are snapping and slashing at their sheets with every roll."
  • "By the time dinner was over they were forced to put double reefs in mainsail and jib, and still the gale had not reached its height."