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[boht] /boʊt/
a vessel for transport by water, constructed to provide buoyancy by excluding water and shaped to give stability and permit propulsion.
a small ship, generally for specialized use:
a fishing boat.
a small vessel carried for use by a large one, as a lifeboat:
They lowered the boats for evacuation.
a ship.
a vessel of any size built for navigation on a river or other inland body of water.
a serving dish resembling a boat:
a gravy boat; a celery boat.
Ecclesiastical. a container for holding incense before it is placed in the censer.
verb (used without object)
to go in a boat:
We boated down the Thames.
verb (used with object)
to transport in a boat:
They boated us across the bay.
to remove (an oar) from the water and place athwartships.
Compare ship (def 10).
in the same boat, in the same circumstances; faced with the same problems:
The new recruits were all in the same boat.
miss the boat, Informal.
  1. to fail to take advantage of an opportunity:
    He missed the boat when he applied too late to get into college.
  2. to miss the point of; fail to understand:
    I missed the boat on that explanation.
rock the boat. rock2 (def 15).
Origin of boat
before 900; Middle English boot (noun), Old English bāt; cognate with Old Norse beit
Related forms
boatable, adjective
boatless, adjective
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for boat
  • Leaving the dry cabin you find there's two inches of water on the floor of the boat.
  • It makes you think of negativities-the water that is not in the boat, the boat that is not a boat.
  • Spray skirts are made of neoprene and keep water from getting in the boat.
  • Properly anchoring a fishing boat, particularly when you are in open waters, may be essential to your fishing success.
  • Charting a boat trip works along the same principles as planning your route on a road trip.
  • If boat traffic increases, the rail industry stands to benefit.
  • In his free time, he wins boat races in which the skippers build their vessels from scratch in six hours or less.
  • The design-and-build process for the boat has been arduous and has taken quite a bit longer than expected.
  • All agreed that running directly into the side or corner of a container could cause enough damage to sink the boat.
  • We come out of the belly of the boat and they give us each a number.
British Dictionary definitions for boat


a small vessel propelled by oars, paddle, sails, or motor for travelling, transporting goods, etc, esp one that can be carried aboard a larger vessel
(not in technical use) another word for ship
(navy) a submarine
a container for gravy, sauce, etc
a small boat-shaped container for incense, used in some Christian churches
in the same boat, sharing the same problems
burn one's boats, See burn1 (sense 19)
miss the boat, to lose an opportunity
(Brit, informal) push the boat out, to celebrate, esp lavishly and expensively
(informal) rock the boat, to cause a disturbance in the existing situation
(intransitive) to travel or go in a boat, esp as a form of recreation
(transitive) to transport or carry in a boat
Word Origin
Old English bāt; related to Old Norse beit boat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boat

Old English bat "boat, ship, vessel," from Proto-Germanic *bait- (cf. Old Norse batr, Dutch boot, German Boot), possibly from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (see fissure), with the sense of making a boat by hollowing out a tree trunk; or it may be an extension of the name for some part of a ship. French bateau "boat" is from Old English or Norse. Spanish batel, Italian battello, Medieval Latin batellus likewise probably are from Germanic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for boat


  1. A car: The little boat (automobile, in the argot of '22) (1915+)
  2. A big car: Why don't you park that boat there, hop inside with me (1920+)
  3. A big shoe; gunboats: leaving his boats out in the hall
Related Terms

the gravy train, lifeboat, man in the boat, miss the boat, on the gravy train, ride the gravy train, rock the boat

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with boat
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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