Definition of gunwale noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

gunwale

 noun
(also gunnel)noun
BrE BrE//ˈɡʌnl//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡʌnl//
 
Parts of boats and ships
 
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the upper edge of the side of a boat or small ship See related entries: Parts of boats and ships Word Origin late Middle English: from gun + wale, a wooden strip fitted along a boat's side to fortify it (because it was formerly used to support guns).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: gunwale