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See also: aștern



From a- (towards) +‎ stern (rear part of a vessel).



astern (comparative more astern, superlative most astern) (nautical)

  1. Behind (a vessel); in the rear.
  2. In the direction of the stern; backward (motion); to the rear.
  3. (obsolete or rare) At or toward the rear of a vessel.


For quotations using this term, see Citations:astern.


Derived terms[edit]



astern (not comparable) (nautical)

  1. Behind a vessel; having a bearing of 180 degrees from ahead.
    If one ship is following another, the first is astern of the second.
    • 1838, M. Guizot, edited by J. Stuart Wortley, Memoirs of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, London: Richard Bentley, page 307:
      When we first espied the Dutch fleet sailing towards us, our whole blue squadron was astern much farther from us, so that Prince Rupert thought it absolutely necessary to slacken sail that they might have time to join us.
    • 1872, Hunt's Yachting Magazine[1], volume 21, page 288:
      Every yachtsman knows that if the ballast of a ship be too afore or too astern.
    • 1883, Lieutenant J. Menteith Brebner, RETURN WRECKS AND CASUALTIES IN INDIAN WATERS[2], page 140:
      The chief engineer's evidence of the S.S. Lennox was the best given; but, as will be seen, he asserted that from the orders he received the Lennox's course was more astern than ahead.
    • 1883, Alexander George Findlay, A Sailing Directory for the Ethiopic Or South Atlantic Ocean[3]:
      but when near Cape Palmas the wind will perhaps be more astern
    • 1901, W. Clark Russell, The Ship's Adventure, Westminster: Archibald Constable, page 304:
      The galley fire was lighted; coffee was boiled; the sun shone brightly, and the ship astern was coming up fast.
    • 1966, Peter Padfield, The Titanic and the Californian[4], page 233:
      The steamer was more than ahead of us, just on our quarter as we say, and the light was more astern.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Within the ship, the corresponding adjective is abaft. An object nearer the stern than the mainmast is abaft the mainmast.