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vb. 1 To stop (a seagoing vessel). 2 (context nautical English) To back-wind the jib and luff the main to hold a position especially in heavy seas.

Usage examples of "heave-to".

The glare underlit the legs, picking them out in rapid strobing flashes as the room adjusted its fall, negated it and began to heave-to alongside the ship once more.

He only needed- or might need - a dozen signals, but they were important, and he had numbered them in the order in which they were likely to be used, Thus signal number one had been to heave-to and hoist out boats.

It was indeed a long day, full and busy - the fore-hold to clear, the prisoners to stow away and guard (many of them privateer's men, a dangerous crew), three slow-witted heavy merchantmen to scurry after (all neutrals and all unwilling to heave-to.