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

  • noun Nautical A small flatbottom fishing boat with a lugsail on a raking mast.
  • noun Scots A kind of flatbottom rowboat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A flattish-bottomed, clincher-built fishing-boat with a square stern.

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

  • noun A flat-floored fishing boat with a lug sail, and a drop rudder extending from two to four feet below the keel. It was originally used on the stormy coast of Yorkshire, England.

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

  • noun nautical small flat-bottomed fishing boat suitable for launching from a beach, found on the north-east coast of England and in Scotland.


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

[Middle English cobel, perhaps ultimately from Latin caupulus, a kind of small ship.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English coble, from Welsh ceubal ("skiff")


  • Looking to eastward you saw a dark semicircular streak on the water, and inside this streak a coble glided slowly hither and thither.

    The Romance of the Coast

  • Thus, after years of experiment, the "coble" was designed in its present form; and these craft are as much the product of their special locality as are the men who man them.

    The Romance of the Coast

  • Thou killest the fish with spear, line, and coble-net; and we, with snares and with nets, which work by the ebb and the flow of the tide.


  • They were to man the fishing coble at Norfolk Island.

    Morgan’s Run

  • He really does have good manners, thought Richard as he strode alongside the Commandant down the pathway which led from the sawpit to Government House and the storage sheds, one of which, he noted, held the coble and an even smaller boat made from the pieces of the old coble which had foundered on the reef and drowned four men.

    Morgan’s Run

  • Willy Dring, Joe Robinson, Neddy Smith and Tom Watson—the four young, strong, unattached, sea-mad men—were to man the coble to fish whenever possible.

    Morgan’s Run

  • The only trouble was that the fish were capricious; on some days the coble would come in with a hundred, on other days with none.

    Morgan’s Run

  • Unable to make contact with the first of the two sighted ships, Lieutenant Clark in the coble headed for the second one and managed to board her.

    Morgan’s Run

  • The coble got out today and Johnny is dancing attendance on Captain Hunter, so I have his share too.

    Morgan’s Run

  • The coble, so called because it was clinker-built in the manner of a Scotch fishing dinghy, very flat-bottomed, glided across the reef without grazing itself and stroked the mere 150 yards across the lagoon to the straight beach, where some of the surviving members of the community stood waiting: six women, one—the oldest—big with child, and five men whose ages, if their faces reflected their years, varied between shaveling young and grizzled old.

    Morgan’s Run


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

  • A flat-bottomed fishing boat with a lugsail, used mainly in northern England and Scotland for salmon. ( Unabridged)

    June 3, 2008