from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large school of fish or other aquatic animals.
  • noun A large group; a crowd.
  • intransitive verb To come together in large numbers.
  • noun A shallow place in a body of water.
  • noun A sandy elevation of the bottom of a body of water, constituting a hazard to navigation; a sandbank or sandbar.
  • intransitive verb To become shallow.
  • intransitive verb To make shallow.
  • intransitive verb To come or sail into a shallower part of.
  • adjective Having little depth; shallow.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To assemble in a multitude; crowd; throng; school, as fish.
  • To become shallow, or more shallow.
  • Nautical, to cause to become shallow, or more shallow; proceed from a greater into a lesser depth of: as, a vessel in sailing shoals her water.
  • noun A great multitude; a crowd; a throng; of fish, a school: as, a shoal of herring; shoals of people.
  • Shallow; of little depth.
  • noun A place where the water of a stream, lake, or sea is of little depth; a sand-bank or bar; a shallow; more particularly, among seamen, a sand-bank which shows at low water: also used figuratively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A great multitude assembled; a crowd; a throng; -- said especially of fish.
  • intransitive verb To become shallow.
  • adjective Having little depth; shallow.
  • transitive verb To cause to become more shallow; to come to a more shallow part of.
  • intransitive verb To assemble in a multitude; to throng.
  • noun A place where the water of a sea, lake, river, pond, etc., is shallow; a shallow.
  • noun A sandbank or bar which makes the water shoal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Shallow.
  • noun A sandbank or sandbar creating a shallow.
  • verb To arrive at a shallow (or less deep) area.
  • verb To cause a shallowing; to come to a more shallow part of.
  • noun Any large number of persons or things.
  • noun A large number of fish (or other sea creatures) of the same species swimming together.
  • verb To collect in a shoal; to throng.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a stretch of shallow water
  • noun a sandbank in a stretch of water that is visible at low tide
  • verb become shallow
  • noun a large group of fish
  • verb make shallow


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

[Probably Middle Low German or Middle Dutch schōle; see skel- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English shold, shallow, shallows, from Old English sceald, shallow.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English schold, scholde, from Old English sceald ("shallow"), perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skalidaz, past participle of *skaljanan (“to go dry, dry up, become shallow”), from *skalaz (“parched, shallow”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kel- (“to dry out”). Cognate with Low German Scholl ("shallow water"), German schal ("stale, flat, vapid"). Compare shallow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1570, presumably from Middle English *shole ("school of fish"), from Old English sceolu, scolu ("troop or band of people, host, multitude, division of army, school of fish"), from Proto-Germanic *skulō (“crowd”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kʷel- (“crowd, people”). Cognate with West Frisian skoal ("shoal"), Middle Low German schōle ("multitude, troop"), Dutch school ("shoal of fishes").


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  • In 2000, the Korean researchers did experimental tests on 'Tianchi trout' found in shoal waters that measured 85 centimeters in length and weighed 7.7 kilos, but they've never been able to test trout from the deeper waters of Tianchi Lake.

    Archive 2007-11-01 2007

  • To our astonishment, although a considerable distance from land, we were in shoal water the whole of the day, supposed to be a sand-bank, the water by times being quite discoloured.

    The Autobiography of Liuetenant-General Sir Harry Smith, Baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G. C. B. 1903

  • I had success using a minnow-imitation type of bait known as a shoal digger tipped with a small black and chartreuse plastic grub that was presented with a subtle jigging motion.

    YORKREGION - Home 2010

  • Due south from Alderney about 2 leagues, and near 3 from the isle of Sark, lies a bank, called La Chole, (from the word shoal) which has no more than 12 feet at low water, spring tides.

    Le petit Neptune français; or, French coasting pilot, for the coast of Flanders, Channel, Bay of ... Neptune 1793

  • The word shoal, on the other hand, is the term for any simple social grouping of fish. "

    Newswise: Latest News 2010

  • The western shoal, which is of small extent and rocky and which has a considerable amount of dead shells upon it, is situated near the center, its depth being 29 fathoms.

    Fishing Grounds of the Gulf of Maine Walter H. Rich

  • "Only on the first shoal, which is in the 'Reed's' station, sir," Mr. Ormsby replied.

    Dave Darrin After The Mine Layers 1895

  • Notwithstanding the currents, the cooling of the water indicated the existence of the shoal, which is noted in only a very few charts.

    Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America 1851

  • I have stated that there was a reef to leeward: it should rather be called a shoal, since it was a sort of muddy sand-bank formed by the current of the river, and running diagonally into the sea for a long distance -- a sort of low peninsula.

    Ran Away to Sea Mayne Reid 1850

  • The Telemaque shoal, which is supposed to exist somewhere to the southward of the Cape, but whose situation has never been ascertained, had just before been the subject of their conversation.

    The King's Own Frederick Marryat 1820


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