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shoal1

[shohl] /ʃoʊl/
noun
1.
a place where a sea, river, or other body of water is shallow.
2.
a sandbank or sand bar in the bed of a body of water, especially one that is exposed above the surface of the water at low tide.
adjective
3.
of little depth, as water; shallow.
verb (used without object)
4.
to become shallow or more shallow.
verb (used with object)
5.
to cause to become shallow.
6.
Nautical. to sail so as to lessen the depth of (the water under a vessel).
Origin of shoal1
900
before 900; (adj.) Middle English (Scots) shald, Old English sceald shallow; (noun and v.) derivative of the adj.
Synonyms
1. shallow, rapid, riffle. 2. reef.

shoal2

[shohl] /ʃoʊl/
noun
1.
any large number of persons or things.
2.
a school of fish.
verb (used without object)
3.
to collect in a shoal; throng.
Origin
1570-80; earlier shole, probably < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German schōle, with sound-substitution of sh- for Low German skh-; cf. school2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for shoal
Historical Examples
  • Out on the shoal he was a silent but interested spectator while the trawl was being pulled and the fish taken aboard.

    Jim Spurling, Fisherman Albert Walter Tolman
  • She went pretty near a shoal with only five feet of water on it.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • The shoal of shooting stars is perhaps much more numerous than the herrings or the pigeons.

    The Story of the Heavens Robert Stawell Ball
  • A shoal of sharks could not have finished him more expeditiously.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • The shoal was close ahead and, taking a sounding, he found scarcely a fathom under the keel.

    The Coast of Adventure Harold Bindloss
  • It is also of interest to notice that the shape of the shoal is gradually changing.

    The Story of the Heavens Robert Stawell Ball
  • In the shoal water between the several wharves, for a long period, there was annually a dense crop of rushes or flags.

    Toronto of Old Henry Scadding
  • Rout them out he would, the same as a shoal of fish from out the weeds.

  • When I came out here just after breakfast, this morning, it was high and dry on that shoal.

    The Boy Settlers Noah Brooks
  • The shoal, we agreed, must have been thrown up by the earthquake.

    Mark Seaworth William H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for shoal

shoal1

/ʃəʊl/
noun
1.
a stretch of shallow water
2.
a sandbank or rocky area in a stretch of water, esp one that is visible at low water
verb
3.
to make or become shallow
4.
(intransitive) (nautical) to sail into shallower water
adjective
5.
a less common word for shallow
6.
(nautical) (of the draught of a vessel) drawing little water
Derived Forms
shoaliness, noun
Word Origin
Old English scealdshallow

shoal2

/ʃəʊl/
noun
1.
a large group of certain aquatic animals, esp fish
2.
a large group of people or things
verb
3.
(intransitive) to collect together in such a group
Word Origin
Old English scolu; related to Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schōleschool²
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 shoal
n.

"place of shallow water," c.1300, from Old English schealde (adj.), from sceald "shallow," from Proto-Germanic *skala- (cf. Swedish skäll "thin;" Low German schol, Frisian skol "not deep"), of uncertain origin. The terminal -d was dropped 16c.

"large number" (especially of fish), 1570s, apparently identical with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish" (see school (n.2)); but perhaps rather a 16c. adoption of cognate Middle Dutch schole.

v.

"assemble in a multitude," c.1600, from shoal (n.2). Related: Shoaled; shoaling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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shoal in Science
shoal
  (shōl)   
A submerged mound or ridge of sediment in a body of shallow water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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