Bow"line (?), n. [Cf. D. boelijn, Icel. boglina, Dan. bovline; properly the line attached to the shoulder or side of the sail. See Bow (of a ship), and Line.] Naut.
A rope fastened near the middle of the leech or perpendicular edge of the square sails, by subordinate ropes, called bridles, and used to keep the weather edge of the sail tight forward, when the ship is closehauled.
Bowline bridles, the ropes by which the bowline is fastened to the leech of the sail. -- Bowline knot. See Illust. under Knot. -- On a bowline, close-hauled or sailing close to the wind; -- said of a ship.
© Webster 1913.