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[skif] /skɪf/
any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
Origin of skiff
early Italian
1565-75; < early Italian schifo < Old High German scif ship1
Related forms
skiffless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for skiff
Historical Examples
  • Slowly the skiff was sent up the bay, but not a strike rewarded his efforts.

    Camping on the St. Lawrence Everett T. Tomlinson
  • According to Fanny's statement, nothing had been found out, and she got into the skiff.

    Hope and Have Oliver Optic
  • The car went forward as smoothly as a skiff on a swift, smooth water.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
  • We don't want the skiff, and dragging it behind keeps us back some.

    Hope and Have Oliver Optic
  • No one else could have come in this skiff, and then gone off in mine by mistake?

    Raftmates Kirk Munroe
  • He then jumped into his skiff, and pulled off to the Greyhound.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • He then leaped into the skiff, which sank as he swiftly transferred to his own vessel its two occupants.

  • He landed from the skiff, and, like a thief in the night, stole up to his father's house.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • The skiff soon carried him to an armed brig, the Fell, which lay at the foot of the Richelieu Rapids.

  • How under the sun did you manage to sink that skiff of yours?

    A Little Miss Nobody Amy Bell Marlowe
British Dictionary definitions for skiff


any of various small boats propelled by oars, sail, or motor
Word Origin
C18: from French esquif, from Old Italian schifo a boat, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German schifship
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
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Word Origin and History for skiff

"small boat," 1570s, from French esquif (1540s), from Italian schifo "little boat," from a Germanic source (e.g. Old High German scif "boat;" see ship (n.)). Originally the small boat of a ship.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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