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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Loof \Loof\ (l[=oo]f or l[u^]f; 277), n. [See Luff.] [Also written luff.] (Naut.)

  1. Formerly, some appurtenance of a vessel which was used in changing her course; -- probably a large paddle put over the lee bow to help bring her head nearer to the wind.

  2. The part of a ship's side where the planking begins to curve toward bow and stern.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1200, in sailing, from Old French lof "spar," or some other nautical device, "point of sail," also "windward side," probably from Germanic (compare Middle Dutch lof "windward side of a ship" (Dutch loef), which might also be the direct source of the English word), from Proto-Germanic *lofo (cognates: Old Norse lofi, Gothic lofa "palm of the hand," Danish lab, Swedish labb "paw"), from PIE *lep- "to be flat" (see glove). As a verb from late 14c., from the noun.\n\n\n


n. 1 (context nautical English) The vertical edge of a sail that is closest to the direction of the wind. 2 (context nautical English) The act of sailing a ship close to the wind. 3 (context nautical English) The roundest part of a ship's bow. 4 (context nautical English) The forward or weather leech of a sail, especially of the jib, spanker, and other fore-and-aft sails. vb. 1 (context nautical of a sail intransitive English) To shake due to being trimmed improperly. 2 (context nautical of a boat intransitive English) To alter course to windward so that the sails luff. (Alternatively ''luff up'') 3 (context nautical transitive English) to let out [a sail] so that it luffs. 4 (context mechanical English) To alter the vertical angle of the jib of a crane so as to bring it level with the load.

  1. n. sailing close to the wind

  2. v. sail close to the wind [syn: point]

  3. flap when the wind is blowing equally on both sides; "the sails luffed"


Luff or luffing may refer to:

  • Luffing, when a sailing sheet is eased so far past trim that airflow over the surface is disrupted
  • The leading edge of a sail
  • Luffing crane, a type of crane where the jib, rather than being fixed, can be raised and lowered

LUFF may refer to:

  • Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival, Lausanne

Usage examples of "luff".

With a passing admonition to Felix to keep Luff quiet, he hastened out of the room.

He could see the quartermaster was dancing from one side of the binnacle to the other, watching the luffs, while the men at the wheel felt the ship almost dead in the water.

He walked back to the binnacle and glanced down at the compass, up at the luffs of the sails and then across at the nearest dogvane.

An eight-point turn meant the men had to spin the great wheel several revolutions, and the quartermaster crouched ready over the binnacle, watching the compass and the dogvanes as well as glancing up at the luffs of the sails, which were beginning to flap as they lost the wind, although the yards were already being braced up.

They were, says Mr Stephen, and the end was that the men of the island seeing no help was toward, as the ungrate women were all of one mind, made a wherry raft, loaded themselves and their bundles of chattels on shipboard, set all masts erect, manned the yards, sprang their luff, heaved to, spread three sheets in the wind, put her head between wind and water, weighed anchor, ported her helm, ran up the jolly Roger, gave three times three, let the bullgine run, pushed off in their bumboat and put to sea to recover the main of America.

He swung himself around the futtock shrouds, the wind catching his coat and shaking it like a luffing sail.

She was going like a running bull, but as she reached the ferry the helmsman gybed, then luffed her sharply to kill her way.

Beak Hadlett and Solo Juke uncertain as to how they stand, it is better to apply full measures in connection with Luff Barrago.

The treacherous driving conditions did not slow Monty Luffer down, as he had a Ford Explorer.

In the aisles were the sleeping-places of the Folk, and down the nave under the crown of the roof were three hearths for the fires, and above each hearth a luffer or smoke-bearer to draw the smoke up when the fires were lighted.

In place of Sideling, The Shadow saw a new prospect, Luff Barrago, a man who could be made to talk.

The 2d Sponger and 2d Loader haul taut side-tackles and choke luffs, or, if rolling deep, hitch the falls round the straps of the blocks, and then unshackle the old breeching and shackle the new, which is to be brought to the gun by the 2d Captain.

Spratt, you hop down to the first luff and tell him I say to get somebody up here to serve that backstay with leather.

The next time they came out, we would notice their sticks cut down, their booms shortened, and their afterleeches nearer the luffs by whole cloths.

George lectured on heeling, luffing, running, blanketing, backwinding, heading up, trimming and pointing.