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n. Nautical
A rope or set of ropes for hauling down or applying downward tension to a sail or spar.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Nautical Terms) nautical a line for hauling down a sail or for increasing the tension at its luff
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



any of various lines for pulling or holding down a sail or a yard.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
The cap at the mainmast head was broken out, and sheet and downhaul pulled flat, amid a scattering rifle fire from the boats; and the Mary Rebecca lay over and sprang ahead faster than ever.
I had scarcely opened my mouth to issue the necessary commands, when eager men were springing to halyards and downhauls, and others were racing aloft.
"We were using a borrowed spinnaker sail, the big colourful 'kite' sail at the front, with a jury rigged downhaul system, and hadn't really mastered getting it up and down quickly, which led to the problem.
I told him about my fleet and assured him that the Dacron braid was a downhaul that would be coming home with me in a few weeks.
The 14-foot Laser rig may be one of the simplest in the Olympic line-up with only an outhaul, downhaul and kicker to manipulate the 76-sq ft sail.
At the "tack" of the sail (the lower forward corner) fasten a 2' length of 3/8" rope we'll call the "downhaul."
The dagger boards are gravity fed through each hull with a single line, although ideally a second downhaul system could be fitted, as I had to go forward to position them just right.