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n. Nautical
A usually gaff-headed sail set from the aftermost lower mast of a sailing ship.


1. (Nautical Terms) nautical a fore-and-aft sail or a mast that is aftermost in a sailing vessel
2. informal a person or animal that moves at a quick smart pace
3. informal something outstandingly fine or large


(ˈspæŋ kər)

a. a fore-and-aft sail on the aftermost lower mast of a sailing vessel having three or more masts.
b. the mast abaft a mizzenmast, usu. the aftermost mast in any vessel.
2. one that moves smartly, esp. a fast horse.
[1745–55; akin to spanking]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.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"
hitter, striker - someone who hits; "a hard hitter"; "a fine striker of the ball"; "blacksmiths are good hitters"
2.spanker - a fore-and-aft sail set on the aftermost lower mast (usually the mizzenmast) of a vessel
fore-and-aft sail - any sail not set on a yard and whose normal position is in a fore-and-aft direction


(Naut: = sail) → Besan m
(dated inf: = horse) → Renner m; a real spanker (= blow)ein Schlag, der nicht von Pappe war (inf)
References in classic literature ?
The patched and dirty spankers were tense before the wind, and up aloft the little ship seemed carrying every sail she had.
Jes' because he couldn't chew himself loose, he chews Spanker loose.
The ship drew on and had safely passed the strait, which some volcanic shock has made between the Calasareigne and Jaros islands; had doubled Pomegue, and approached the harbor under topsails, jib, and spanker, but so slowly and sedately that the idlers, with that instinct which is the forerunner of evil, asked one another what misfortune could have happened on board.
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.
Ultimately they brought us up with the jibboom of a Dutch brig poking through our spanker - nothing worse.
Again, while Captain Van Horn and the mate, Borckman, gave orders, and while the Arangi's mainsail and spanker began to rise up the masts, Jerry loosed all his heart of woe in what Bob told Derby on the beach was the "grandest vocal effort" he had ever heard from any dog, and that, except for being a bit thin, Caruso didn't have anything on Jerry.
Her forestaysail and mizzen spanker were set as though an effort had been made to hold her head up into the wind, but the sheets had parted, and the sails were tearing to ribbons in the half gale of wind.
Every thing was made snug, alow and aloft; and as the wind steadily freshened, we lay to, at length, under spanker and foretopsail, both double-reefed.
A second moment they devoted to the wreckage of the same on deck--the mizzen-topmast, thrust through the spanker and supported vertically by the stout canvas, thrashing back and forth with each thrash of the sail, the main- topmast squarely across the ruined companionway to the steerage.
With his round unmoved face, a lot of fine white hair waving in the wind-eddies of the spanker, his glance levelled over the sea he seemed to be addressing the universe across her reclining form.
You can take me to a punk club, pool club or lounge, honky-tonk or dive/ just get me in somewhere where nobody cares/what you wear or drive'' Co from "Smells Like Thirtysomething,'' by the Asylum Street Spankers
Her guests have included the entire Austin, Texas-based Asylum Street Spankers band and comedian Dick Smothers of The Smothers Brothers fame.