Either of two timbers rising from the keel of a sailing ship and supporting the inner end of the bowsprit.
[From the fact that it was sometimes decorated with a carving of a man's head.]
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 either of a pair of vertical supports for each side of the bowsprit
[C18: originally decorated with carvings of knights' heads]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014