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

  • n. A flatbottom open boat of shallow draft, having a pointed bow and a square stern and propelled by oars, sail, or motor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and square stern.
  • n. Any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
  • n. A light wind/rain/snow, etc.
  • n. Used when referring to anyone (typically rednecks and fishermen) who has a degree of intelligence, but believes they are more than they actually are.
  • v. To navigate in a skiff.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small, light boat.
  • transitive v. To navigate in a skiff.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sail upon or pass over in a skiff or light boat.
  • Oblique; distorted; awkward.
  • n. Formerly, a small sailing vessel resembling a sloop.
  • n. Now, a small boat propelled by oars.

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

  • n. any of various small boats propelled by oars or by sails or by a motor


Middle English skif, from Old French esquif, from Old Italian schifo, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French esquif, from Old Italian schifo ("small boat"), from Lombardic *skif (“boat”), from Proto-Germanic *skipan (“boat, ship”), from Proto-Indo-European *skei- (“to split, cut”). Cognate with Old High German skif ("boat, ship"), Old English scip ("small craft, boat"). More at ship. (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.