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 (tŏp′səl, -sāl′)
1. A square sail set above the lowest sail on the mast of a square-rigged sailing vessel.
2. A triangular or square sail set above the gaff of a lower sail on a fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel.


(ˈtɒpˌseɪl; ˈtɒpsəl)
(Nautical Terms) a square sail carried on a yard set on a topmast


(ˈtɒpˌseɪl; Naut. -səl)

a sail, or either of a pair of sails, set immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmast.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.topsail - a sail (or either of a pair of sails) immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmasttopsail - a sail (or either of a pair of sails) immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmast
fore-topsail - the topsail on a foremast
sail, canvass, canvas, sheet - a large piece of fabric (usually canvas fabric) by means of which wind is used to propel a sailing vessel


[ˈtɒpsl] Ngavia f
References in classic literature ?
All hands obeyed, and at once the eight or ten seamen who composed the crew, sprang to their respective stations at the spanker brails and outhaul, topsail sheets and halyards, the jib downhaul, and the topsail clewlines and buntlines.
He stood there with me on the break of the poop after the main topsail blew away, and whimpered about our last hope--positively whimpered about it and nothing else--and the night coming on
The spars were cleared away, the anchors and guns heaved overboard; the sprit-sail yard was rigged for a jury-mast, and a mizzen topsail set upon it.
The larger boat backed her topsail with shrieks and shoutings.
Charley smiled at their efforts, and said, "Give her the topsail, Ole.
The liquor mounted in the heads of all of us, and the talk of Scotty and the harpooner was upon running the Easting down, gales off the Horn and pamperos off the Plate, lower topsail breezes, southerly busters, North Pacific gales, and of smashed whaleboats in the Arctic ice.
On another occasion I started early and walked to the Gavia, or topsail mountain.
That morning the mizzen topsail tie had carried away(probably a defective link) and something like forty feet of chain and wire-rope, mixed up with a few heavy iron blocks, had crashed down from aloft on the poop with a terrifying racket.
Under two lower topsails and a reefed foresail the barque seemed to race with a long, steady sea that did not becalm her in the troughs.
em about in the Fork--the forked stick that you put round their necks, you know--is insolence--same as not backing your topsails in the old days.
It was in the brave old days of Ballarat and Bendigo, when ship after ship went out black with passengers and deep with stores, to bounce home with a bale or two of wool, and hardly hands enough to reef topsails in a gale.
Surely this ship would have furled all her lower canvas and reefed her topsails if she found herself on a lee shore with the wind on her quarter.