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[skuhl] /skʌl/
an oar mounted on a fulcrum at the stern of a small boat and moved from side to side to propel the boat forward.
either of a pair of oars rowed by one rower.
a boat propelled by an oar or oars.
a light, narrow racing boat for one, two, or sometimes four rowers, each equipped with a pair of oars.
sculls, a race involving such boats.
verb (used with object)
to propel or convey by means of a scull or sculls.
verb (used without object)
to propel a boat with a scull or sculls.
Origin of scull
1300-50; Middle English sculle < ?
Related forms
sculler, noun
Can be confused
scull, skull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for scull
Historical Examples
  • I had no mind to be recaptured, and began to scull frantically towards the other vessel.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • For a few moments, I now heard no more in the water; and I began to scull again.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Kingswell grabbed an oar, slipped it into a notch beside the tiller and began to "scull" the boat seaward.

    Brothers of Peril Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  • Greer went back to the stern, picked up an oar and began to scull.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • It is harder work to scull thirty-eight strokes in a minute than it is to row forty-four in the same time.

    Rowing Rudolf Chambers Lehmann
  • He found it impractical to remain longer in the stern attempting to scull.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • Suppose his scull should prove to be broken; who was to stand the woes of trepanning?

    Sheppard Lee, Vol. II (of 2) Robert Montgomery Bird
  • Kathleen could row, and she put the oars in the rowlocks, and sat down to scull.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • Dexter slipped into his place, took the scull, and began to row.

    Quicksilver George Manville Fenn
  • I did so, Davies sounding with his scull between the strokes.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
British Dictionary definitions for scull


a single oar moved from side to side over the stern of a boat to propel it
one of a pair of short-handled oars, both of which are pulled by one oarsman, esp in a racing shell
a racing shell propelled by an oarsman or oarsmen pulling two oars
(pl) a race between racing shells, each propelled by one, two, or four oarsmen pulling two oars
an act, instance, period, or distance of sculling
to propel (a boat) with a scull
Derived Forms
sculler, noun
Word Origin
C14: of unknown origin
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 scull

kind of short, light, spoon-bladed oar, mid-14c., of unknown origin. The verb is from 1620s, from the noun. Related: Sculled; sculling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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