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martingale definitions

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a harness strap that connects the nose piece to the girth; prevents the horse from throwing back its head
2: spar under the bowsprit of a sailboat [syn: dolphin striker, martingale]

Merriam Webster's

noun Etymology: Middle French Date: 1584 1. a device for steadying a horse's head or checking its upward movement that typically consists of a strap fastened to the girth, passing between the forelegs, and bifurcating to end in two rings through which the reins pass 2. a. a lower stay of rope or chain for the jibboom used to sustain the strain of the forestays and fastened to or rove through the dolphin striker b. dolphin striker 3. any of several systems of betting in which a player increases the stake usually by doubling each time a bet is lost

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 a strap, or set of straps, fastened at one end to the noseband of a horse and at the other end to the girth, to prevent rearing etc. 2 Naut. a rope for holding down the jib-boom. 3 a gambling system of continually doubling the stakes in the hope of an eventual win that must yield a net profit. Etymology: F, of uncert. orig.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Martingale Mar"tin*gale, Martingal Mar"tin*gal, n. [F. martingale; cf. It. martingala a sort of hose, martingale, Sp. martingala a greave, cuish, martingale, Sp. alm['a]rtaga a kind of bridle.] 1. A strap fastened to a horse's girth, passing between his fore legs, and fastened to the bit, or now more commonly ending in two rings, through which the reins pass. It is intended to hold down the head of the horse, and prevent him from rearing. 2. (Naut.) A lower stay of rope or chain for the jib boom or flying jib boom, fastened to, or reeved through, the dolphin striker. Also, the dolphin striker itself. 3. (Gambling) The act of doubling, at each stake, that which has been lost on the preceding stake; also, the sum so risked; -- metaphorically derived from the bifurcation of the martingale of a harness. [Cant] --Thackeray.

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