The tiller is what steers a boat — specifically, the handle attached to the rudder. Tillers are generally found on smaller boats because it would take too much force to steer larger ships with hand tillers.

If you have never been on a sailboat before, it may take you a few minutes to figure out how to move the tiller to smoothly steer the boat because you might move the tiller in the opposite direction that you want the boat to go. If you want the bow of the boat to go starboard (right), for example, you need to move the tiller to the port side (left) and vice versa. Rapid back and forth movement on the tiller helps create drag and slows the boat.

Definitions of tiller
  1. noun
    someone who tills land (prepares the soil for the planting of crops)
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    type of:
    farmer, granger, husbandman, sodbuster
    a person who operates a farm
  2. noun
    a farm implement used to break up the surface of the soil (for aeration and weed control and conservation of moisture)
    synonyms: cultivator
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    a cultivator that pulverizes or smooths the soil
    disc harrow, disk harrow
    a harrow with a series of disks set on edge at an angle
    type of:
    farm machine
    a machine used in farming
  3. noun
    lever used to turn the rudder on a boat
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    type of:
    a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum
  4. noun
    a shoot that sprouts from the base of a grass
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    type of:
    a new branch
  5. verb
    grow shoots in the form of stools or tillers
    synonyms: stool
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    type of:
    acquire, develop, get, grow, produce
    come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
Word Family