Definition of coxswain in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒks(ə)n/


1The person who steers a ship’s boat, racing boat, or other boat.
Example sentences
  • Three heats with the top three boats qualifying for the final left it up to the coxswains to call the race plan.
  • As coxswain, I would steer, control the pace, and act as the eyes of the oarsmen, who were facing backward.
  • The coxswain is fitted snugly into the bow end of the boat steering and motivating the crew.
1.1The helmsman and skipper of a lifeboat.
Example sentences
  • Lifeboat coxswain Gary Edwards praised the crew for their heroic work.
  • Former lifeboat coxswain Roland Stork was awarded the MBE for his services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
  • The coxswain of the lifeboat said: ‘It started out as a basic tow job, but ended up as a full-scale rescue.’
1.2The senior petty officer in a small ship or submarine in the Royal Navy.
Example sentences
  • The senior coxswain was thrilled with the honour that commends his service to the Hampshire community.
  • She eventually rose to coxswain in the Auxiliary and taught their coastal navigation courses.


Middle English: from obsolete cock (see cockboat) + swain. Compare with boatswain.

Words that rhyme with coxswain


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cox|swain

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.