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  1. an oar mounted on a fulcrum at the stern of a small boat and moved from side to side to propel the boat forward.
  2. either of a pair of oars rowed by one rower.
  3. a boat propelled by an oar or oars.
  4. a light, narrow racing boat for one, two, or sometimes four rowers, each equipped with a pair of oars.
  5. sculls, a race involving such boats.Compare double sculls, single sculls.
verb (used with object)
  1. to propel or convey by means of a scull or sculls.
verb (used without object)
  1. to propel a boat with a scull or sculls.

Origin of scull

1300–50; Middle English sculle < ?
Related formsscull·er, noun
Can be confusedscull skull
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sculled

Historical Examples

  • I think it probable I sculled away from the spot, as there was nothing to guide me.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The ‘Gull Lightship’ was not far off, so we sculled to her in the dingey.

  • I had steamed it down the Mississippi, and sculled it up the Orinoco.

    The Rifle Rangers

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • I got the dingy out, and was sculled quietly down by one of the men.

  • He sculled the punt to the little cove by the Head, and there loaded her with rocks.

British Dictionary definitions for sculled


  1. a single oar moved from side to side over the stern of a boat to propel it
  2. one of a pair of short-handled oars, both of which are pulled by one oarsman, esp in a racing shell
  3. a racing shell propelled by an oarsman or oarsmen pulling two oars
  4. (plural) a race between racing shells, each propelled by one, two, or four oarsmen pulling two oars
  5. an act, instance, period, or distance of sculling
  1. to propel (a boat) with a scull
Derived Formssculler, noun

Word Origin

C14: of unknown origin
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 sculled



kind of short, light, spoon-bladed oar, mid-14c., of unknown origin. The verb is from 1620s, from the noun. Related: Sculled; sculling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper