Etymology: Middle English windels or windas, Old Norse vindass, from vinda, "to wind", + ass, "pole". Confer Icelandic vindilass.
- (nautical) A type of winch, fitted with a wildcat for hauling chain, or a gypsy for rope.
- (nautical) An apparatus in which horizontal drums or wheels are operated by means of a steam engine, pneumatic engine, hydraulic engine, or electric motor for handling heavy anchor chains, hawsers, etc. (FM 55-501).
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Full Definition of windlass