What does the word topsail mean?

Usage examples for topsail

  1. On the 29th of April the wind was S. S. E. and S. E. in the morning and forenoon, with a fresh topsail breeze; at daybreak they weighed anchor and set sail on courses between N. N. E. and N. N. W. over depths of 10, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 7, 8, 9 fathom, hard foul bottom; they estimated themselves to be at 3 miles' distance off the land. – The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 by J. E. Heeres
  2. Sometimes a reach of the river permits the sails to be braced full, and she bowls along merrily under way; anon a turn comes where she can only lie across, balanced as to headway by the main topsail aback. – From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life by Captain A. T. Mahan
  3. The cut of a topsail, the look of a mast- head, the set of a gaff- the smallest little thing was enough to place them, so well were they acquainted with one another. – The Seiners by James B. (James Brendan) Connolly