Gunwale definitions

gŭn'əl
The upper edge of the side of a vessel.
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The upper edge of the side of a ship or boat.
noun
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(nautical) The top edge of the hull of a nautical vessel, where it meets the deck.
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Origin of gunwale

From Middle English gonnewalle, itself from gonne (“gun”) + wale, as it used to support the ship's guns; equivalent to gun +‎ wale.