1. a crane-like device (usually one of a pair) for suspending or lowering equipment (as a lifeboat);
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Davit \Dav"it\, n. [Cf. F. davier forceps, davit, cooper's
instrument, G. david davit; all probably from the proper name
(a) A spar formerly used on board of ships, as a crane to
hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow,
without injuring the sides of the ship; -- called also
the fish davit.
(b) pl. Curved arms of timber or iron, projecting over a
ship's side of stern, having tackle to raise or lower a
boat, swing it in on deck, rig it out for lowering, etc.;
-- called also boat davits. --Totten.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a crane-like device (usually one of a pair) for suspending
or lowering equipment (as a lifeboat)