• WordNet 3.6
    • n steerageway (nautical) the minimum rate of motion needed for a vessel to be maneuvered
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Steerageway (Naut) A rate of motion through the water sufficient to render a vessel governable by the helm.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n steerageway Nautical, that degree of forward movement or headway of a ship which renders her subject to the helm.
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In literature:

With her small area of exposed sail and with the wind buffeting her, she had halted and paid off, lacking steerageway.
"Blow The Man Down" by Holman Day
They were towed beside the other under bare steerageway.
"Boy Scouts in the North Sea" by G. Harvey Ralphson
Off the Battery, they sidle to us in coy appeal, but we carry bare steerageway.
"Merchantmen-at-Arms" by David W. Bone