In terms of a location on a ship, is "forward quarter" a correct term or is the term modern slang?

A vessel's "quarter" is generally accepted as being the port or starboard stern quarter. The use of the term "forward quarter" and "aft quarter" has been noted by the OP in the USA, but I cannot see any reference to "forward quarter" in historical ship definition records or in US Navy publications.

Is "forward quarter" a historically correct term? If you believe it is I would appreciate if you are able to cite a reference, or to explain why you believe it to be correct.

Thank you.

  • Note that in a seaway, a quartering sea does come from off the bow. But I don't refer to parts of the ship forward of the beam as the forward quarter. However, I don't find it cringeworthy either.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


(1) It's correct.

forward quarter (naval architecture): The portions of the sides of a ship immediately abaft the stem

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms] Note: not flagged as slang.

(2) 'Historically correct' is ill-defined; when did history stop? And are we to assume that the ancients made no mistakes?

However, the term has been in use since at least 1815, as this Google 2-gram shows:

enter image description here

Most of the early examples seem to refer to land-based military manoeuvres, but this is a relevant excerpt from the 1866 *Seamanship: Comp. from Various Authorities, and Illustrated ... – S B Luce:

  • garnets and hook on the forward quarter . On the after side of the yard is nailed a chafing - batten . Next outside is the quarter - iron for topmast studding - sail boom

[quaint hyphen-spaces unadjusted]

  • There is a glitch in Google Books such that in some views punctuation marks have spaces added before and after. Note the extra space after "quarter" in your answer. (I see no extra spaces in this search results page)
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 16:26
  • The second result is probably the one given above ... complete with extra space. But unusual spacing could be an artifact. Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 17:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.