stay

Stay \Stay\ (st[=a]), n. [AS. st[ae]g, akin to D., G., Icel., Sw., & Dan. stag; cf. OF. estai, F. ['e]tai, of Teutonic origin.] (Naut.) A large, strong rope, employed to support a mast, by being extended from the head of one mast down to some other, or to some part of the vessel. Those which lead forward are called fore-and-aft stays; those which lead to the vessel's side are called backstays. See Illust. of {Ship}. [1913 Webster] {In stays}, or {Hove in stays} (Naut.), in the act or situation of staying, or going about from one tack to another. --R. H. Dana, Jr. {Stay holes} (Naut.), openings in the edge of a staysail through which the hanks pass which join it to the stay. {Stay tackle} (Naut.), a tackle attached to a stay and used for hoisting or lowering heavy articles over the side. {To miss stays} (Naut.), to fail in the attempt to go about. --Totten. {Triatic stay} (Naut.), a rope secured at the ends to the heads of the foremast and mainmast with thimbles spliced to its bight into which the stay tackles hook. [1913 Webster]