Moby-Dick: Astern


  1. the rear part of a ship
  2. behind a ship
  3. behind something

The word astern appears in the following sentences from Moby-Dick:

Chapter 1 > Paragraph 11 > Sentence 2:

For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from the sailors on the forecastle.

Chapter 22 > Paragraph 10 > Sentence 1:

Meantime, overseeing the other part of the ship, Captain Peleg ripped and swore astern in the most frightful manner.

Chapter 29 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 1:

Some days elapsed, and ice and icebergs all astern, the Pequod now went rolling through the bright Quito spring, which at sea, almost perpetually reigns on the threshold of the eternal August of the Tropic.

Chapter 48 > Paragraph 48 > Sentence 2:

Then all in one welded commotion came an invisible push from astern, while forward the boat seemed striking on a ledge; the sail collapsed and exploded; a gush of scalding vapor shot up near by; something rolled and tumbled like an earthquake beneath us.

Chapter 48 > Paragraph 52 > Sentence 1:

Floating on the waves we saw the abandoned boat, as for one instant it tossed and gaped beneath the ship's bows like a chip at the base of a cataract; and then the vast hull rolled over it, and it was seen no more till it came up weltering astern.

Chapter 53 > Paragraph 9 > Sentence 4:

But the whale-boat has no seat astern, no sofa of that sort whatever, and no tiller at all.

Chapter 54 > Paragraph 83 > Sentence 1:

"Meantime, at the first tap of the boat's bottom, the Lakeman had slackened the line, so as to drop astern from the whirlpool; calmly looking on, lie thought his own thoughts.

Chapter 61 > Paragraph 16 > Sentence 5:

And now it is struck; for, starting from his trance into that unspeakable thing called his "flurry," the monster horribly wallowed in his blood, overwrapped himself in impenetrable, mad, boiling spray, so that the imperilled craft, instantly dropping astern, had much ado blindly to struggle out from that phrensied twilight into the clear air of the day.

Chapter 69 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 2:

Let the carcase go astern!

Chapter 70 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 1:

When first severed, the head is dropped astern and held there by a cable till the body is stripped.

Chapter 73 > Paragraph 40 > Sentence 3:

The carcases of both whales had dropped astern; and the head-laden ship not a little resembled a mule carrying a pair of overburdening panniers.

Chapter 74 > Paragraph 5 > Sentence 1:

Now, from this peculiar sideway position of the whale's eyes, it is plain that he can never see an object which is exactly ahead, no more than he can one exactly astern.

Chapter 81 > Paragraph 12 > Sentence 4:

It's the first foul wind ever knew to blow from astern; but look, did ever whale yaw so before? it must be, he's lost his tiller."

Chapter 81 > Paragraph 28 > Sentence 1:

"Don't be afraid, my butter-boxes," cried Stubb, casting a passing glance upon them as he shot by; "ye'll be picked up presently—all right—I saw some sharks astern—St. Bernard's dogs, you know—relieve distressed travellers.

Chapter 84 > Paragraph 8 > Sentence 2:

The agonized whale goes into his flurry; the tow-line is slackened, and the pitchpoler dropping astern, folds his hands, and mutely watches the monster die.

Chapter 87 > Paragraph 14 > Sentence 1:

But thoughts like these troubled very few of the reckless crew; and when, after steadily dropping and dropping the pirates astern, the Pequod at last shot by the vivid green Cockatoo Point on the Sumatra side, emerging at last upon the broad waters beyond; then, the harpooneers seemed more to grieve that the swift whales had been gaining upon the ship, than to rejoice that the ship had so victoriously gained upon the Malays.

Chapter 87 > Paragraph 18 > Sentence 2:

Further pursuit was useless; but the boats still lingered in their wake to pick up what drugged whales might be dropped astern, and likewise to secure one which Flask had killed and waited.

Chapter 93 > Paragraph 10 > Sentence 6:

No boat-knife was lifted when he fell so rapidly astern.

Chapter 96 > Paragraph 10 > Sentence 6:

Uppermost was the impression, that whatever swift, rushing thing I stood on was not so much bound to any haven ahead as rushing from all havens astern.

Chapter 117 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 1:

The four whales slain that evening had died wide apart; one, far to windward; one less distant, to leeward; one ahead; one astern.

Chapter 123 > Paragraph 3 > Sentence 3:

But as he was now bringing the ship as near her course as possible, watching the compass meanwhile, lo! a good sign! the wind seemed coming round astern; aye, the foul breeze became fair!

Chapter 124 > Paragraph 6 > Sentence 2:

"Heading East at this hour in the morning, and the sun astern?"

Chapter 125 > Paragraph 1 > Sentence 7:

The ship was sailing plungingly; astern the billows rolled in riots.

Chapter 125 > Paragraph 15 > Sentence 2:

The loose coils rapidly straightened out in a long dragging line astern, and then, instantly, the reel began to whirl.

Chapter 125 > Paragraph 23 > Sentence 1:

"astern there, sir, astern!

Chapter 130 > Paragraph 8 > Sentence 7:

And thus, with one hand clinging round the royal mast, Ahab gazed abroad upon the sea for miles and miles,—ahead astern, this side, and that,—within the wide expanded circle commanded at so great a height.

Chapter 135 > Paragraph 42 > Sentence 3:

As it was, three of the oarsmen—who foreknew not the precise instant of the dart, and were therefore unprepared for its effects—these were flung out; but so fell, that, in an instant two of them clutched the gunwale again, and rising to its level on a combing wave, hurled themselves bodily inboard again; the third man helplessly dropping astern, but still afloat and swimming.

Concordance for the word astern from Moby-Dick.

Herman Melville
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