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Four-masted, iron-hulled barque Herzogin Cecilie—one of the fastest windjammers built

A windjammer is a commercial sailing ship with multiple masts that may be square rigged, or fore-and-aft rigged, or a combination of the two. The informal term "windjammer" arose during the transition from the Age of Sail to the Age of Steam during the 19th century. The Oxford English Dictionary records the word "windjamming" from 1886 and "windjammer" with reference to a ship from 1892.[1] The term has evolved to include such a vessel, carrying passengers on overnight cruises in the Caribbean, the U.S. state of Maine and elsewhere.[2][3]


A New England windjammer—the Luther Little, a four-masted schooner—just after its construction in 1917

The word "windjammer" has a variety of associations, both nautical and not. In the late 19th century the term was pejorative, as used by sailors aboard steamships.[4]

  • Green's Dictionary of Slang has a variety of non-nautical definitions for the term.[16]


Full-rigged ship
Showing three-masted examples, progressing from square sails on each to all fore-and-aft sails on each.

Any of the following ships may be called a "windjammer":

In literature[edit]

Windjammers have figured prominently in both historical and fictional literature. Some examples include:

  • Allen, Oliver E.; Books, Time-Life (1978). The Windjammers. Time-Life Books. ISBN 9780705406253. Allen, Oliver E. 1978. The Windjammers. Amsterdam: Time-Life Books.
  • Lubbock, Basil (1953). The Last of the Windjammers. Brown, Son & Ferguson.
  • Noppen, Ryan K. (2015). German Commerce Raiders 1914–18. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472809513.
  • Richardson, V. A. (2006). The House of Windjammer. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781582349848.
  • Runciman, Walter Sr. (1902). Windjammers and Sea Tramps. London: At the Unicorn.
  • Simpson, Paul W. (2017). Windjammer. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9780244305727.
  • Thomas, Lowell (2013). The Sea Devil - The Story Of Count Felix Von Luckner, The German War Raider. Read Books Ltd. ISBN 9781446548196.


  1. ^ "windjammer". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Laird, Scott (2022-04-12). "A Windjammer Cruise on Penobscot Bay Is the Best Way to Experience Maine's Coast". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 2022-07-13.
  3. ^ Crowell, Ed (2003). Barefoot pirate : the tall ships and tales of Windjammer. Robert W. Schachner. [New York]: Orion Press. ISBN 0-7570-0128-9. OCLC 52985865.
  4. ^ a b "wind, n.1", OED Online, Oxford University Press, retrieved 2019-06-25
  5. ^ a b Chase, George D. (1917). "Lists from Maine". Dialect Notes. 1. Vol. IV. American Dialect Society.
  6. ^ a b c Dear, I. C. B. DearI C. B.; Kemp, Peter (2007-01-01), Kemp, Peter; Dear, I. C. B. (eds.), "Windjammer", The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199205684.001.0001, ISBN 9780199205684, retrieved 2019-06-24
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Windjammer", The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military, Oxford University Press, 2001, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199891580.001.0001, ISBN 9780199891580, retrieved 2019-06-24
  8. ^ "windjammer - Czech translation - bab.la English-Czech dictionary". en.bab.la. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  9. ^ Van Veen, Pieter A. F.; Van der Sijs, Nicoline (1997). "Windjammer". Etymologisch woordenboek: de herkomst van onze woorden. Utrecht Antwerpen: Van Dale Lexicografie.
  10. ^ Hueber; Bönzli, Werner (2009). Mit Deutsch durchs Jahr: Sprachkalender Deutsch (in German). Hueber Verlag. ISBN 9783190079209.
  11. ^ Penzkofer, Markus (2017-09-27). Thematisches Wörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch (2): Aufbauwortschatz (in German). BoD – Books on Demand. ISBN 9783744822619.
  12. ^ Nguyen, Nam H. (2018-02-03). Essential 120000 English-Japanese Words Dictionary (in Japanese). Nam H Nguyen.
  13. ^ Milewski, Szymon; Zadrożna, T. (1965). Maritime dictionary Polish-English. Wydawn. Naukowo-Techniczne.
  14. ^ "Винджаммер - translation - Russian-English Dictionary". Glosbe. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  15. ^ "Виндјамер - translation - Serbian-English Dictionary". Glosbe. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  16. ^ Green, Jonathon (2011), "Windjammer", Green's Dictionary of Slang, Chambers Harrap Publishers, doi:10.1093/acref/9780199829941.001.0001, ISBN 9780199829941, retrieved 2019-06-24
  17. ^ Simpson, Paul W. (2017-05-11). Windjammer. Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9780244305727.
  18. ^ Historian), Tom Bennett (Shipwreck (2016-11-24). Bells from Shipwrecks -after 1830: Victorian and Modern Ship's Bells. TOM Bennett.
  19. ^ Marsden, Ben (2015-07-28). Uncommon Contexts: Encounters Between Science and Literature, 1800–1914. Routledge. ISBN 9781317320357.
  20. ^ Williams, Deborah (September 1999). "Windjammin' in Maine". Cruise Travel. Cruise Travel.
  21. ^ Kerr, Jim (September 1994). "Fantome—Setting sail for romance with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises". Cruise Travel. Cruise Travel.