before the mast
1. Naut. A pole, or long, strong, round piece of timber, or spar, set upright in a boat or vessel, to sustain the sails, yards, rigging, etc. A mast may also consist of several pieces of timber united by iron bands, or of a hollow pillar of iron or steel.
The tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral. --Milton.
Note: ☞ The most common general names of masts are foremast, mainmast, and mizzenmast, each of which may be made of separate spars.
2. Mach. The vertical post of a derrick or crane.
3. Aeronautics A spar or strut to which tie wires or guys are attached for stiffening purposes.
Afore the mast, Before the mast. See under Afore, and Before.
Mast coat. See under Coat.
Mast hoop, one of a number of hoops attached to the fore edge of a boom sail, which slip on the mast as the sail is raised or lowered; also, one of the iron hoops used in making a made mast. See Made.
1. In front of; preceding in space; ahead of; as, to stand before the fire; before the house.
His angel, who shall go
Before them in a cloud and pillar of fire. --Milton.
2. Preceding in time; earlier than; previously to; anterior to the time when; -- sometimes with the additional idea of purpose; in order that.
Before Abraham was, I am. --John viii. 58.
Before this treatise can become of use, two points are necessary. --Swift.
Note: ☞ Formerly before, in this sense, was followed by that. “Before that Philip called thee . . . I saw thee.”
3. An advance of; farther onward, in place or time.
The golden age . . . is before us. --Carlyle.
4. Prior or preceding in dignity, order, rank, right, or worth; rather than.
He that cometh after me is preferred before me. --John i. 15.
The eldest son is before the younger in succession. --Johnson.
5. In presence or sight of; face to face with; facing.
Abraham bowed down himself before the people. --Gen. xxiii. 12.
Wherewith shall I come before the Lord? --Micah vi. 6.
6. Under the cognizance or jurisdiction of.
If a suit be begun before an archdeacon. --Ayliffe.
7. Open for; free of access to; in the power of.
The world was all before them where to choose. --Milton.
Before the mast Naut., as a common sailor, -- because the sailors live in the forecastle, forward of the foremast.
Before the wind Naut., in the direction of the wind and by its impulse; having the wind aft.