HAWSER (in sense and form as if from " hawse," which, from the 16th-century form liaise, is derived from Teutonic hals, neck, of which there is a Scandinavian use in the sense of the forepart of a ship; the two words are not etymologically connected; " hawser " is from an O. Fr. haucier, hausser, to raise, tow, hoist, from the Late Lat. altiare, to lift, altus, high), a small cable or thick rope used at sea for the purposes of mooring or warping, in the case of large vessels made of steel. When a cable or tow line is made of three or more small ropes it is said to be " hawser-laid." The " hawse " of a ship is that part of the bows where the " hawse-holes " are made. These are two holes cut in the bows of a vessel for the cables to pass through, having small cast-iron pipes, called " hawse-pipes," fitted into them to prevent abrasion. In bad weather at sea these holes are plugged up with " hawse-plugs " to prevent the water entering. The phrase to enter the service by the " hawse-holes " is used of those who have risen from before the mast to commissioned rank in the navy. When the ship is at anchor the space between her head and the anchor is called " hawse," as in the phrase " athwart the hawse." The term also applies to the position of the ship's anchors when moored; when they are laid out in a line at right angles to the wind it is said to be moored with an " open hawse "; when both cables are laid out straight to their anchors without crossing, it is a " clear hawse."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)