Etymology
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windlass (n.)

device for raising weights by winding a rope round a cylinder, c. 1400, alteration of wyndase (late 13c.), from Anglo-French windas, and directly from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse vindass, from vinda "to wind" (see wind (v.1)) + ass "pole, beam" (cognate with Gothic ans "beam, pillar").

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Definitions of windlass

windlass (n.)
lifting device consisting of a horizontal cylinder turned by a crank on which a cable or rope winds;
Synonyms: winch
From wordnet.princeton.edu