• WordNet 3.6
    • n mainsheet (nautical) a line (rope or chain) that regulates the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n mainsheet (Naut) One of the ropes by which the mainsail is hauled aft and trimmed.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n mainsheet The sheet or rope used for securing the mainsail when set. See sheet. With a square mainsail it holds in place the lee clue of the sail, and with a fore-and-aft mainsail it is a tackle on the main-boom.
    • n mainsheet plural Collectively, all the sheets of the square sails on the mainmast, but especially the sheets which belong to the main course.
    • n mainsheet In Jamaica, weak rum and water.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Mainsheet the sheet or rope attached to the lower corner of the mainsail
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. maine or magne, great—L. magnus, great.


In literature:

Kitchell dozed in his hammock in the shadow of the mainsheet.
"Moran of the Lady Letty" by Frank Norris
The rest of you tail aft to the mainsheet!
"The Sea-Wolf" by Jack London
Come in mainsheet two blocks!
"Jerry of the Islands" by Jack London
Tell him to slack off the mainsheet, and before you know it, he'd drop the peak.
"South Sea Tales" by Jack London
No, SIR, we'll have no more of you at the mainsheet.
"The Ebb-Tide A Trio And Quartette" by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyde Osbourne
Immediately he leaped back to the stern, fitted in the tiller, and seizing the mainsheet, drew the boom in till the wind should catch in the canvas.
"The Black Bag" by Louis Joseph Vance
Come, Walter, haul in the mainsheet, and come up to the wind.
"Captain Mugford" by W.H.G. Kingston
Ease off the mainsheet.
"The Pirate Slaver" by Harry Collingwood
The bark went merrily on, leaping over the waves, with the old mariner at her helm, and his dumb servant by the mainsheet.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
Bobtail eased off his mainsheet, and waited for the Eagle to come up.
"Little Bobtail" by Oliver Optic
He fancied he cried out in warning, but was never sure of it, though three men came running to seize the mainsheet.
"Masters of the Wheat-Lands" by Harold Bindloss
He fancied he cried out in warning, but was never sure of it, though three men came running to seize the mainsheet.
"Hawtrey's Deputy" by Harold Bindloss
There is a mainsheet, a jibsheet, and a foresheet.
"Boys' Book of Model Boats" by Raymond Francis Yates
Jimmie Thomas, ease your mainsheet!
"The Harbor of Doubt" by Frank Williams
The yacht hauled her mainsheet in to two blocks.
"The Seiners" by James B. (James Brendan) Connolly
Seaport towns are full of mainsheet-men; they hop upon one leg, my son, what's left of them, and the rest are dead.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XIX (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
The two lascars were told off to tend the halliards, Mahmed stood by the mainsheet, while Peter steered.
"The Wireless Officer" by Percy F. Westerman
Get in some mainsheet while I luff her.
"The Boy Ranchers of Puget Sound" by Harold Bindloss
Marston was vaguely conscious that a gang of Krooboys ran to the mainsheet and Wyndham directed their efforts.
"Wyndham's Pal" by Harold Bindloss
We'll get the mainsheet in first.
"The Viking Blood" by Frederick William Wallace