- any of various cranelike devices used singly or in pairs for supporting, raising, and lowering especially boats, anchors, and cargo over a hatchway or side of a ship.
- a cranelike device, usually one of a pair, fitted with a tackle for suspending or lowering equipment, esp a lifeboat
also david, “crane-like structure used to lower things off a ship, etc.,” late 15c., apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (cf. jack, jenny, jimmy).