From Middle English botswain, botswein, bote-swayn, from late Old English bātsweġen, from bāt (“boat”) + sweġen (“swain”), the latter element a borrowing from Old Norse sveinn (“boy”); equivalent to boat + swain (“boy, servant”).
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbəʊ.sən/; (spelling pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbəʊt.sweɪn/
- (US, Canada) IPA(key): /ˈboʊ.sən/
boatswain (plural boatswains)
- The officer (or warrant officer) in charge of sails, rigging, anchors, cables etc. and all work on deck of a sailing ship.
- The petty officer of a merchant ship who controls the work of other seamen.
- A kind of gull, the jaeger.
- The tropicbird.
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], page 1:
- Alon. Good Boteſwaine haue care : where's the Maſter ? […]