- to the rear of; aft of: the fife rail abaft the mainmast.
- in the direction of the stern; astern; aft.
adverb, adjective (postpositive)
- closer to the stern than to another place on a vesselwith the wind abaft
- behind; aft ofabaft the mast
“in or at the back part of a ship” (opposed to forward), 1590s, from Middle English on baft (Old English on bæftan) “backwards.” The second component is itself a compound of be “by” (see by) and æftan “aft” (see aft). The word has been saved by the sailors (the stern being the “after” part of a vessel), the rest of the language having left it in Middle English.