to strike down

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To lower a mast or yard to the deck in a square-rigged ship, or lower heavy articles into the hold of a ship. Thus topgallant masts, topmasts, and yards were struck down when they were lowered to the deck (but see also house, to, in the case of masts where they were lowered only sufficiently to lie alongside the mast next below them). Casks were also struck down into the hold of a ship. When, in the days of sailing navies, guns were lowered to the lower gun-deck in very rough weather, to get their weight carried as low as possible, they, too, were said to be struck down.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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