1. A winding and circuitous way; a roundabout course; a shift.
  2. A machine for raising weights, consisting of a horizontal cylinder or roller moving on its axis, and turned by a crank, lever, or similar means, so as to wind up a rope or chain attached to the weight. In vessels the windlass is often used instead of the capstan for raising the anchor. It is usually set upon the forecastle, and is worked by hand or steam.
  3. An apparatus resembling a winch or windlass, for bending the bow of an arblast, or crossbow.

v. i.

  1. To take a roundabout course; to work warily or by indirect means.

v. t. & i.

  1. To raise with, or as with, a windlass; to use a windlass.