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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sloop \Sloop\, n.[D. sloep, of uncertain origin. Cf. Shallop.] 1. (Naut.) A vessel having one mast and fore-and-aft rig, consisting of a boom-and-gaff mainsail, jibs, staysail, and gaff topsail. The typical sloop has a fixed bowsprit, topmast, and standing rigging, while those of a cutter are capable of being readily shifted. The sloop usually carries a centerboard, and depends for stability upon breadth of beam rather than depth of keel. The two types have rapidly approximated since 1880. One radical distinction is that a sloop may carry a centerboard. See Cutter, and Illustration in Appendix. [1913 Webster] 2. (Naut.) In modern usage, a sailing vessel having one mast, commonly with a Bermuda rig, with either a center-board or a keel. In the United States, a sloop may have one or two headsails, while in Western Europe and Great Britain a sloop has only one headsail. [RDH] Sloop of war, formerly, a vessel of war rigged either as a ship, brig, or schooner, and mounting from ten to thirty-two guns; now, any war vessel larger than a gunboat, and carrying guns on one deck only. [1913 Webster]