from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A shallow, saucer-shaped skin boat used especially by Plains Indians for transporting possessions and sometimes persons across rivers or streams.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Kneeling in a "bullboat," fashioned from the skin of an animal, and wielding a paddle with the dexterity only to be attained after years of practice in canoeing, a sturdily-built and thoroughly bronzed Canadian lad glanced ever and anon back along the course over which he had so recently passed; and then up at the black storm clouds hurrying out of the mysterious North.
Just as Jerry said, each of the late inmates of the overturned bullboat, after being buffeted about furiously for several minutes, had succeeded in wildly scrambling on to an exposed rock.
And the delicious odor of that supper was enough to arouse the dormant appetite of one who had foresworn all cookery, one of these modern cranks determined to exist upon nuts and fruit, which our young friend of the bullboat certainly was not.
He kept to the middle of the river when it would seem to at least have been the part of wisdom had he edged his craft closer to either shore, so that he might, in time, make a safe landing in preference to trusting himself to the mercy of the wild rapids, in which his frail bullboat would be but as a chip in the swirl of conflicting waters.
Considering that he was in so vast a wilderness this adventurous lad appeared to have scant luggage in his well battered bullboat -- indeed, beyond the buskskin jacket, which he had thrown off because of his exertions, there did not seem to be anything at all aboard the craft, not even a gun, by means of which he might provide himself with food while on the journey downstream.
At the same time the observing Cuthbert could not but note the gritting of Owen's teeth when he declared that he was ready to go back into the country from which he had apparently just come; it would appear as though some recent experience up the river did not linger fondly in his memory, and that when he came paddling downstream in his battered old bullboat it might have been with the idea of quitting the country for good.