Sloop (?), n.[D. sloep, of uncertain origin. Cf. Shallop.] Naut.
A vessel having one mast and fore-and-aft rig, consisting of a boom-and-gaff mainsail, jibs, staysail, and gaff topsail. The typical sloop has a fixed bowsprit, topmast, and standing rigging, while those of a cutter are capable of being readily shifted. The sloop usually carries a centerboard, and depends for stability upon breadth of beam rather than depth of keel. The two types have rapidly approximated since 1880. One radical distinction is that a sloop may carry a centerboard. See Cutter, and Illustration in Appendix.
Sloop of war, formerly, a vessel of war rigged either as a ship, brig, or schooner, and mounting from ten to thirty-two guns; now, any war vessel larger than a gunboat, and carrying guns on one deck only.
© Webster 1913.