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[skif] /skɪf/
any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
Origin of skiff
early Italian
1565-75; < early Italian schifo < Old High German scif ship1
Related forms
skiffless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for skiff
  • Your boat taxi will ferry you and your gear to shore in a small open skiff.
  • Step aboard a small exposed skiff for an incredibly diverse day of fishing.
  • They were sculling upstream in their small live-aboard skiff as our riverboat steamed down.
  • It can be difficult for pirates to board a moving ship from a skiff using grappling hooks and ladders.
  • Our swimming combined with the paddling efforts of those on the skiff eventually reunited us.
  • And finally he caught the fish and lashed it to the side of his skiff only to spend his return voyage fighting off sharks.
  • Commercial sardine fishing vessel getting ready to launch skiff with the net.
  • Over the years, he made some subtle but important changes to the skiff's design to meet the changing needs of lifeguards.
  • The skiff is brought around so that the seine makes a half circle with the skiff on one end and the vessel on the other end.
  • We rent skiff boats and they take that four hours or eight hours all day.
British Dictionary definitions for skiff


any of various small boats propelled by oars, sail, or motor
Word Origin
C18: from French esquif, from Old Italian schifo a boat, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German schifship
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 skiff

"small boat," 1570s, from French esquif (1540s), from Italian schifo "little boat," from a Germanic source (e.g. Old High German scif "boat;" see ship (n.)). Originally the small boat of a ship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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