• WordNet 3.6
    • n gunwale wale at the top of the side of boat; topmost planking of a wooden vessel
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Gunwale (Naut) The upper edge of a vessel's or boat's side; the uppermost wale of a ship (not including the bulwarks); or that piece of timber which reaches on either side from the quarter-deck to the forecastle, being the uppermost bend, which finishes the upper works of the hull.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gunwale Nautical, the upper edge of a ship's side; the uppermost wale of a ship, or that piece of timber which reaches on either side from the quarterdeck to the forecastle, being the uppermost bend which finishes the upper works of the hull. The gunwale of a boat is a piece of timber going round the upper sheer strake as a binder for its top-work.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Gunwale gun′el the wale or upper edge of a ship's side next to the bulwarks, so called because the upper guns are pointed from it.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gun, + wale,. So named because the upper guns were pointed from it


In literature:

They then filled her up with sand, almost to the gunwale.
"The Three Admirals" by W.H.G. Kingston
The cutter heeled over, so that the water boiled above the lee gunwale.
"Captain Mugford" by W.H.G. Kingston
Just then, the cable caught our outer gunwale, over which it ran, apparently one sheet of fire.
"Dick Cheveley" by W. H. G. Kingston
The last canoe is held by the gunwale till the occupant steps out.
"Peter the Whaler" by W.H.G. Kingston
Still, I did my best, but could get him no higher than the gunwale.
"Peter Trawl" by W. H. G. Kingston
To form the gunwale we had to fasten a number together.
"Snow Shoes and Canoes" by William H. G. Kingston
All we could do was to keep the sail hoisted a few feet up, and to bale out the water as fast as it washed over the gunwale.
"Twice Lost" by W.H.G. Kingston
Often she was almost gunwale under before we could luff up in time to ease her.
"Will Weatherhelm" by W.H.G. Kingston
The larger are about sixty feet in length, by seven feet in beam, and the gunwale is two feet from the water's edge.
"The Young Llanero" by W.H.G. Kingston
She rolled gunwale under, and her remaining mast went by the board.
"The King's Own" by Captain Frederick Marryat

In poetry:

And up on the yellow cliff
The long corn flickers and shakes;
Push, for the wind holds stiff,
And the gunwale dips and rakes.
"A Song in Time of Order. 1852" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
A barque stood o'er the shadowy tide,
All shattered, pale and dim,
With a countless crew—and such freightage too,
That it sunk to its gunwale rim.
"New Year's Eve" by Ernest Jones
The boats, dismasted, gunwale to side,
Rest and forget the turmoil and spray;
A dreamless sleep, till to-morrow's tide
Slips from the sands of Martin's Bay.
"Christmas in Alurio" by Theodore Goodridge Roberts
And out, from the bottom of the sea,
There came a hollow groan;—
The captain by the gunwale stood,
And he looked like icy stone—
And he drew in his breath with a gasping sob,
And a spasm of death came on.
"The Old Man's Story" by Mary Botham Howitt

In news:

If you don't know much about boatbuilding, start by welding rebar together to frame the gunwales and keel.
With one step on the wide gunwale of Carolina Skiff 's new 21 Ultra, I was struck by two factors: the boat's rock-solid stability at rest and the high quality of the interior.
The low freeboard and walkaround gunwales are complemented by a large, open cockpit and standup leaning post.
66" W Gunwale Height Range: 9"-17" Gunwale Clamping Range: 24- 60 Total Weight.
$595 Row Wing base unit plus $165 Gunwale Clamping Kit $695 Row Wing Sliding Rigger version –kit required to install Row Wing monorail system is supported by 2 leveling legs and is secured in place by a gunwa...
My boat sank in its slip up to the gunwales.
This Swedish ad for the Sony Ericsson Xperia by agency Storåkers McCann is loaded to the gunwales with innuendo, although some of the television's jealousy is misplaced — there's no.