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[awrz, ohrz] /ɔrz, oʊrz/
interjection, Nautical.
(used as a command to the crew of a scull or other similar boat to cease rowing and hold the oars horizontal with blades feathered.)


[awr, ohr] /ɔr, oʊr/
a long shaft with a broad blade at one end, used as a lever for rowing or otherwise propelling or steering a boat.
something resembling this or having a similar purpose.
a person who rows; oarsman.
verb (used with object)
to propel with or as if with oars; row.
to traverse or make (one's way) by, or as if by, rowing.
verb (used without object)
to row.
to move or advance as if by rowing.
put in one's oar, to meddle; interfere:
He put in his oar and was told to mind his own business.
rest on one's oars, to cease to make an effort; relax after exertion; stop working after success or completing a task:
Once he became president, he was content to rest on his oars.
Origin of oar
before 900; Middle English ore, Old English ār; cognate with Old Norse ār
Related forms
oarless, adjective
oarlike, adjective
Can be confused
oar, o'er, or, ore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oars
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And we went aboard and broke the oars and threw the sails into the water.

    Viking Tales Jennie Hall
  • To his joy he found a pair of oars stowed beneath the thwarts.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • I discovered, too, that oars were lying in them, also a small mast and sails.

    The Birthright Joseph Hocking
  • They were half-way to shore when they heard the noise of oars again.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • With a song upon their lips, the sailors bent to their oars.

    Children of the Dawn Elsie Finnimore Buckley
  • Then the wind changed and the frightened rowers had to take the oars.

    Classic Myths Mary Catherine Judd
British Dictionary definitions for oars


a long shaft of wood for propelling a boat by rowing, having a broad blade that is dipped into and pulled against the water. Oars were also used for steering certain kinds of ancient sailing boats
short for oarsman
put one's oar in, to interfere or interrupt
to row or propel with or as if with oars: the two men were oaring their way across the lake
Derived Forms
oarless, adjective
oarlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English ār, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse ār
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 oars



Old English ar "oar," from Proto-Germanic *airo (cf. Old Norse ar, Danish aare, Swedish åra), of unknown origin; perhaps related to Latin remus "oar," Greek eretes "rower," eretmos "oar."

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


Related Terms

row with one oar

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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Related Abbreviations for oars


[National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of] Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with oars


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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