- a place where a sea, river, or other body of water is shallow.
- a sandbank or sand bar in the bed of a body of water, especially one that is exposed above the surface of the water at low tide.
- of little depth, as water; shallow.
- to become shallow or more shallow.
- to cause to become shallow.
- Nautical. to sail so as to lessen the depth of (the water under a vessel).
Origin of shoal1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- any large number of persons or things.
- a school of fish.
- to collect in a shoal; throng.
Origin of shoal2
Examples from the Web for shoal
Shoal water, deep water, it seemed all the same to our fortunes.The Forest
Stewart Edward White
She waded forward to where the shoal ended and the deeper part began.The Woman-Haters
Joseph C. Lincoln
I'd ruther have 'em high-water than shoal in the middle of the channel.
I pushed with all my might and, slowly and jerkily, the dingy slid off the shoal.
We were being driven by the wind away from the shoal, but not fast enough.
- a stretch of shallow water
- a sandbank or rocky area in a stretch of water, esp one that is visible at low water
- to make or become shallow
- (intr) nautical to sail into shallower water
- a less common word for shallow
- nautical (of the draught of a vessel) drawing little water
- a large group of certain aquatic animals, esp fish
- a large group of people or things
- (intr) to collect together in such a group
Word Origin and History for shoal
"place of shallow water," c.1300, from Old English schealde (adj.), from sceald "shallow," from Proto-Germanic *skala- (cf. Swedish skäll "thin;" Low German schol, Frisian skol "not deep"), of uncertain origin. The terminal -d was dropped 16c.
"large number" (especially of fish), 1570s, apparently identical with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish" (see school (n.2)); but perhaps rather a 16c. adoption of cognate Middle Dutch schole.
"assemble in a multitude," c.1600, from shoal (n.2). Related: Shoaled; shoaling.
- A submerged mound or ridge of sediment in a body of shallow water.