Definition of luff in English:

luff

Line breaks: luff
Pronunciation: /lʌf
 
/
Sailing

noun

  • The edge of a fore-and-aft sail next to the mast or stay: if your luff is flapping, pull the sail towards you to fill it with wind
    More example sentences
    • Nonchalant references to booms and jibs and kites and cleats and luffs and lees and heeling and tacking and pointing high can leave the nautical ingénue helpless in a riptide of argot.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Steer (a yacht) nearer the wind: I came aft and luffed her for the open sea
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    • If it's a sailboat, luff it up into the wind and drift to a complete stop, then allow it to sail backwards - a boat-length is long enough to appease the spirits.
  • 1.1Obstruct (an opponent in yacht racing) by sailing closer to the wind: he can luff you, but must leave you room to get clear
    More example sentences
    • It was in full sail close to us, luffing a little and standing across our course, and so close we had to strike sail to avoid running foul of her, while they too turned hard to let us pass.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French lof, probably from Low German.

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