Pronunciation: (mär'tn-gāl"), [key]
1. Also called standing martingale. part of the tack or harness of a horse, consisting of a strap that fastens to the girth, passes between the forelegs and through a loop in the neckstrap or hame, and fastens to the noseband: used to steady or hold down the horse's head. See illus. under harness.
2. Also called running martingale. a similar device that divides at the chest into two branches, each ending in a ring through which the reins pass.
3. Naut.a stay for a jib boom or spike bowsprit.
4. a system of gambling in which the stakes are doubled or otherwise raised after each loss.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.