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  1. Military. a boat or some other floating structure used as one of the supports for a temporary bridge over a river.
  2. a float for a derrick, landing stage, etc.
  3. Nautical. a float for raising a sunken or deeply laden vessel in the water; a camel or caisson.
  4. a seaplane float.
Also pon·ton [pon-tn] /ˈpɒn tn/.

Origin of pontoon1

1585–95; < French ponton < Latin pontōn- (stem of pontō) flat-bottomed boat, punt


noun British.
  1. the card game twenty-one.

Origin of pontoon2

1915–20; alteration of French vingt-et-un twenty-one
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pontoon


    1. a watertight float or vessel used where buoyancy is required in water, as in supporting a bridge, in salvage work, or where a temporary or mobile structure is required in military operations
    2. (as modifier)a pontoon bridge
  1. nautical a float, often inflatable, for raising a vessel in the water

Word Origin

C17: from French ponton, from Latin pontō punt, floating bridge, from pōns bridge


  1. Also called: (esp US) twenty-one, vingt-et-un a gambling game in which players try to obtain card combinations worth 21 points
  2. (in this game) the combination of an ace with a ten or court card when dealt to a player as his first two cards

Word Origin

C20: probably an alteration of French vingt-et-un, literally: twenty-one
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pontoon


"flat-bottomed boat" (especially one to support a temporary bridge), 1670s, from French pontoon, from Old French ponton (14c.) "bridge, drawbridge, boat-bridge; flat-bottomed boat," from Latin pontonem (nominative ponto) "flat-bottomed boat," from pons "bridge" (see pons). Pontoon bridge is first recorded 1778.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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