1. A set of tackle running from the base of a sailboat's mast to a point partway out on the boom, used to control the curvature of the sail.
2. A rope running from the peak of a gaff to a ship's rail or mast, used to steady the gaff.
[Dutch, a catch, from vangen, to catch; see pag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.