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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Hawse \Hawse\ (h[add]z or h[add]s; 277), n. [Orig. a hawse hole, or hole in the bow of the ship; cf. Icel. hals, h[=a]ls, neck, part of the bows of a ship, AS. heals neck. See Collar, and cf. Halse to embrace.] 1. A hawse hole. --Harris. [1913 Webster] 2. (Naut.) (a) The situation of the cables when a vessel is moored with two anchors, one on the starboard, the other on the port bow. (b) The distance ahead to which the cables usually extend; as, the ship has a clear or open hawse, or a foul hawse; to anchor in our hawse, or athwart hawse. (c) That part of a vessel's bow in which are the hawse holes for the cables. [1913 Webster] Athwart hawse. See under Athwart. Foul hawse, a hawse in which the cables cross each other, or are twisted together. Hawse block, a block used to stop up a hawse hole at sea; -- called also hawse plug. Hawse piece, one of the foremost timbers of a ship, through which the hawse hole is cut. Hawse plug. Same as Hawse block (above). To come in at the hawse holes, to enter the naval service at the lowest grade. [Cant] To freshen the hawse, to veer out a little more cable and bring the chafe and strain on another part. [1913 Webster] hawsehole