Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Canada & New England Nautical A long, light, flatbottom boat with a sharply pointed bow and stern.
  • n. South Atlantic & Gulf States Nautical A small, light, flatbottom rowboat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small, flat-bottomed type of boat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A boat; esp. a flat-bottomed, clumsy boat used on the Canadian lakes and rivers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A light boat for river navigation, long in proportion to its breadth, and wider in the middle than at the ends.
  • n. A pontoon of a floating bridge.

Etymologies

Canadian and Louisiana French, from French, boat, from Old French batel, from Old English bāt; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French bateau (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A boat neck - also known as a bateau neck - refers to a wide neckline that runs horizontally, front and back, almost to the shoulders.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • The bateau is a thin flat wafer that flies very fast and then rotates in midair so the shooter can see it and get a shot off.

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  • The modern 'bateau' is to be found only among keeled sailing craft.

    All Afloat A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways

  • The common punt is the best known form of it; the dory by far the handiest all round; the cargo barge the biggest; and the old-fashioned 'bateau' the most characteristically Canadian.

    All Afloat A Chronicle of Craft and Waterways

  • A moment more, and -- as he saw Sandy step out of the "bateau" with the boy, now sobbing feebly, in his arms -- he knew that his vengeance had been made for ever impossible.

    Earth's Enigmas A Volume of Stories

  • The young man clung rather faintly to the supporting planks, as if he had overstrained himself; and two or three hands, who had already shoved off a "bateau," pushed out and picked him up with his burden.

    Earth's Enigmas A Volume of Stories

  • Then canoe and bateau answered to the swift current of the Mackenzie, and they plunged into the Great Barren Ground.

    In a Far Country

  • A day came when Leclère gathered his dogs together and floated down in a bateau to Forty Mile, and on to the Porcupine, where he took a commission from the P.C. Company, and went exploring for the better part of a year.

    BÂTARD

  • The name of this friendly looking restaurant, is taken from the title of a sombre poem “Le bateau ivre”.

    serment - French Word-A-Day

  • “Le bateau ivre” is a poem written by Arthur Rimbault in 1872, about a drunken boat carrying Flemish wheat or English cotton, no longer pulled by ropes and floating down impassible rivers, running into the furious breakers of the sea, dancing on the waves, lighter than a cork, bathing in the Poem of the Sea, nacrous waves, silver suns ... piercing the red skies …

    serment - French Word-A-Day

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  • "The previous day Jones had discovered two Union cavalrymen lurking near his little bateau at Pope's Creek."
    --James L. Swanson, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer, 179

    May 30, 2008