From International Dictionary of Marine Aids to Navigation
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A device consisting of two elements, normally a piston and a cylinder, the relative motion of which is opposed by fluidic friction and which is used for damping or to provide forces proportional to the rate of movement of the piston.

Please note that this is the term as it stands in the original IALA Dictionary edition (1970-1989)

International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities - AISM