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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aft \Aft\ ([.a]ft), adv. & a. [AS. [ae]ftan behind; orig. superl. of of, off. See After.] (Naut.) Near or towards the stern of a vessel; astern; abaft.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English æftan "from behind, behind, farthest back," from superlative of Old English æf, af, of "away, away from, off" (see of). The Germanic superlative suffix *-ta corresponds to PIE *-to (compare Greek protos "first," superlative of pro "before"). Now purely nautical.


init. American Federation of Teachers


adj. (nautical, aeronautical) situated at or toward the stern or tail [syn: aft(a)] [ant: fore(a)]


adv. at or near or toward the stern of a ship or tail of an airplane; "stow the luggage aft"; "ships with square sails sail fairly efficiently with the wind abaft"; "the captain looked astern to see what the fuss was about" [syn: abaft, astern] [ant: fore]

For the acronym, see AFT (disambiguation).

Aft, in naval terminology, is an adjective or adverb meaning, towards the stern (rear) of the ship, when the frame of reference is within the ship. Example: "Able Seaman Smith; lay aft!". Or; "What's happening aft?"

  • The corresponding adjective, in distinguishing one feature of the vessel from another is after. See the caption to the right. Its antonym is forward.
  • The corresponding preposition is abaft. For example, the mizzenmast is abaft the mainmast. Its antonym is before or, in a more clumsy form, forward of.

Aft also describes the direction of movement within an aircraft; that is, towards the tail. Example: "Let's go aft." Meaning to pull back on the yoke. It may also describe the back/tail location or region within an aircraft cabin. Example: "Aft lavatory."

The difference between aft and stern is that aft is the inside (onboard) rearmost part of the vessel, while stern refers to the outside (offboard) rearmost part of the vessel.

Usage examples of "aft".

But when things went wrong Back Aft, Vaughn was as likely to raise his voice, a stern frown clouding his face, preaching to his officers and men, sometimes even lecturing broken equipment.

The turbines aft of maneuvering, so loud before, like jet engines screaming mere feet away, spun down, their steam gone.

Murphy walked aft to look into the maneuvering room to see how the Engineering Officer of the Watch was handling the frantic actions required during a reactor scram.

On the starboard side of the control room, starting at the forward starboard bulkhead and wrapping around aft, was the attack center, a group of firecontrol consoles and seats for the officers manning them.

On the aft port corner wall, a door led to the navigation room, where the ESGN inertial navigation equipment was housed.

One of the turbine generators and one of the main engines aft was shut down to minimize radiated noise.

Twenty-five feet above them, from the aft part of the sail, the Bigmouth antenna raised steadily upward, the top of the mast breaking the surface.

Murphy glanced aft of the periscope stand to the navigation chart, which showed their past track.

In spite of the three air conditioners aft blowing frigid air into the room to help cool the electronics, the space had grown airless and hot.

Murphy could feel the vibrations from his feet as the main engines aft began to accelerate them through the water of the shallow bay, moving them away from the sonobuoys.

The Diving Officer and bowplanesman were struggling to maintain depth control in spite of the odd effects of their rooster-tail wake aft and the shallow-bottom venturi force amidships.

The deck began to tremble as the huge twin steam propulsion turbines aft came up to full revolutions, blasting the Tampa through the water at one hundred percent reactor power.

Jesus, Murphy thought, not just a reactor scram but a fucking steam leak--a ruptured main steam line had enough energy to roast everyone in the aft compartment.

The last blast caused a jam rise on the bow planes maybe blew some gases into the aft ballast tanks.

Murphy ordered the engineer from aft, and in a few moments Jackson Vaughn appeared, hair soaked with sweat, coveralls stained with dirt, a Beretta 9-mm automatic stuffed into his belt.