to the rear of; aft of:
the fife rail abaft the mainmast.
in the direction of the stern; astern; aft.
Historical Examples

The sounds seem as if they are coming from the right now abaft the beam, if anything.
Billy Barcroft, R.N.A.S. Percy F. Westerman

The sound came from abaft his beam and his disquietude increased.
Blow The Man Down Holman Day

On the gratings around the stern, abaft the wheel, they laid her on soft cushions.
The Pirate Woman Aylward Edward Dingle

Up with your helm, abaft there, and let her go off square before the wind!
The Missing Merchantman Harry Collingwood

That part of the cable which is abaft the bitts, and therefore within board when the ship rides at anchor.
The Sailor’s Word-Book William Henry Smyth

“I’m on the port side just abaft the pantry,” I answered, shaking him by the hand.
A Bid for Fortune Guy Boothby

The three of them stood by the rail just abaft the pilot house when the Arrow turned into the half-mile breadth of Folly Bay.
Poor Man’s Rock Bertrand W. Sinclair

Luxury starts from abaft, and is not wholly lost, even at the fore-peak.
The Three Cutters Captain Frederick Marryat

There were no deck lamps; the two skylights diffused but a sickly radiance, and I was abaft the side-lights.
The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers

There was a capstan just abaft the mainmast, and here the men assembled.
The Wreck of the Grosvenor, Volume 1 of 3 William Clark Russell

adverb, adjective (postpositive)
closer to the stern than to another place on a vessel: with the wind abaft
behind; aft of: abaft the mast

“in or at the back part of a ship” (opposed to forward), 1590s, from Middle English on baft (Old English on bæftan) “backwards.” The second component is itself a compound of be “by” (see by) and æftan “aft” (see aft). The word has been saved by the sailors (the stern being the “after” part of a vessel), the rest of the language having left it in Middle English.

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