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A broad-beamed sailboat carrying a single fore-and-aft sail on a mast near the bow and often fitted with a centerboard.
[Probably from Early Modern English cat, from cat (although the reason why such vessels were associated with cats is unknown; compare Dutch kat, cat (the animal), a kind of vessel with a wide fore and aft, and Medieval Latin gatus, gattus, and Old French chat, cat, a kind of war machine or portable shed for protecting sapping operations, a kind of war vessel equipped with such a shed, and Middle French chat, cat, a kind of commercial vessel).]
(Nautical Terms) a sailing vessel with a single mast, set well forward and often unstayed, and a large sail, usually rigged with a gaff. Shortened form: cat
a boat having one mast set well forward with a single large sail.