• WordNet 3.6
    • n spanker a fore-and-aft sail set on the aftermost lower mast (usually the mizzenmast) of a vessel
    • n spanker a hitter who slaps (usually another person) with an open hand "someone slapped me on the back and I turned to see who the slapper was","my father was the designated spanker in our family"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Spanker A small coin. "Henry VII. stamped a small coin called dandiprats ."
    • Spanker One who spanks, or anything used as an instrument for spanking.
    • Spanker One who takes long, quick strides in walking; also, a fast horse.
    • Spanker Something very large, or larger than common; a whopper, as a stout or tall person.
    • Spanker (Naut) The after sail of a ship or bark, being a fore-and-aft sail attached to a boom and gaff; -- sometimes called driver. See Illust. under Sail.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n spanker One that takes long strides in walking; a fast-going or fleet horse.
    • n spanker Nautical, a fore-and-aft sail set on the after side of the mizzenmast of a ship or bark. Its head is extended by a boom called the spankers-gaff, and its foot generally, but not always, by the spanker-boom. It was formerly called a driver, and is now sometimes called on English ships a mizzen. See cut under ship.
    • n spanker Something striking, from its unusual size or some other peculiarity; a stunner, a whopper.
    • n spanker A gold coin.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Spanker one who walks with long strides: a fast-going horse: any person or thing particularly striking, a dashing person
    • n Spanker spang′kėr the after-sail of a ship or barque, so called from its flapping in the breeze.
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In literature:

I was bo'sun on the Swallow, a spanker she was, chartered by the Company, London to Calcutta.
"In Clive's Command" by Herbert Strang
I was the last to go below, doing so just as the watch on deck was furling the spanker.
"Stories of Ships and the Sea" by Jack London
A large brig was riding up the river under the afternoon breeze, carrying the English flag at her spanker.
"The Entailed Hat" by George Alfred Townsend
They got here last night, and they're a pair of spankers, too, if I do say it that shouldn't, as the phrase is.
"Cape Cod Folks" by Sarah P. McLean Greene
With the aid of the winch the two men succeeded in getting the main- topmast staysail set, after which they hauled out the spanker.
"The Missing Merchantman" by Harry Collingwood
Brail in the spanker, and shiver the mizen topsail!
"Overdue" by Harry Collingwood
Couple of you come aft here and brail up the spanker!
"The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858" by Various
My wife artfully introduced it, by observing, that one of the Miss Flamboroughs was like to have a very good match of it in Mr. Spanker.
"The Ontario High School Reader" by A.E. Marty
Slack off that spanker!
""Where Angels Fear to Tread" and Other Stories of the Sea" by Morgan Robertson
Other officers were directed to drill the seamen stationed at the head sails and the spanker.
"Down the Rhine" by Oliver Optic
It was perfectly apparent that anybody who got in its path would meet death as instantly as a fly under a housewife's spanker.
"Blow The Man Down" by Holman Day
The jibs and spanker generally go up at once, because they are useful as an aid to steering.
"All Afloat" by William Wood
The Young America had furled everything except her topsails, jib, and spanker.
"Dikes and Ditches" by Oliver Optic
What a spanker Tam had been!
"The House with the Green Shutters" by George Douglas Brown
A small tackle or rope to prevent the spanker-boom from swaying about in fine weather.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
A shot had struck the spanker-gaff on the enemy and her ensign had come down on the run.
"Famous Privateersmen and Adventurers of the Sea" by Charles H. L. Johnston
Wicks, his head full of a schooner's mainsail, turned his mind to the spanker.
"The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 13 (of 25)" by Robert Louis Stevenson
Get a small pull of the spanker sheet!
"Latitude 19 degree" by Mrs. Schuyler Crowninshield
Shall I challenge my "Lady Gay Spanker" of last night's acquaintance to a game of bowling?
"The International Monthly, Volume 4, No. 4, November 1, 1851" by Various
Haul down the jib, and come to by the spanker, or mizzen topsail and spanker.
"The Seaman's Friend" by Richard Henry Dana

In poetry:

"Oh, fly aloft to the garboard strake!
And reef the spanker boom;
Bend a studding sail on the martingale,
To give her weather room."
"A Sailor's Yarn" by James Jeffrey Roche
Then the merciless snow came down, hiding everything from view,
And as the night closed in the wind tempestuous blew;
Still the brave crew reefed the spanker and all the sails,
While not one amongst them with fear bewails.
"Wreck of the Schooner 'Samuel Crawford'" by William Topaz McGonagall