Sailor Speak of the Week – Haul



  1. A clockwise shift in the direction of the wind.


  1. To pull on a line.
  2. To take a craft out of the water.
  3. To sail a square-rigged ship closer to the wind.


(first definition) Probably earlier than the early 17th century. Of unknown origin. (second definition) The 16th century. From the Old French, hallier, meaning to haul or pull. It was earlier spelled as hall. (third definition) Probably the 14th century.


Definitions 2 and 3 are fairly self-explanatory. Regarding the fourth definition, it’s a fairly general term meaning to trim the sails so as to sail closer to the wind.


Kemp, P. (1994). The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Oxford University Press.

King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport.

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