A large triangular headsail secured only at the corners, used on sailboats when running before the wind.
[Perhaps ultimately from Sphinx, name of the first yacht to use such a sail, or spin, to move rapidly (variant of Scots spene, to run before the wind; see SPINDRIFT).]
(click for a larger image)spinnaker
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.