1 A large wooden or metal spar crossing the masts of a sailing vessel horizontally or diagonally, from which a sail is set. Yards crossing the masts of a square-rigged ship horizontally are supported from the mastheads by slings and lifts and are held to the mast by a truss or parrel. Square sails are laced by their heads to the yards. By means of braces, the yards can be turned at an angle to the fore-and-aft line of the vessel in order to take the greatest advantage of the wind direction in relation to the required course of the vessel. When a yard crosses a mast diagonally, it is known as a lateen yard and is not supported by braces but hoisted by a halyard attached to a point on the yard about one-third of its length from the forward end.
2 A shortened form of dockyard.