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[ba-toh; French ba-toh]
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noun, plural ba·teaux [ba-tohz; French ba-toh] /bæˈtoʊz; French baˈtoʊ/.
  1. Also batteau. Nautical.
    1. Chiefly Canadian and Southern U.S..a small, flat-bottomed rowboat used on rivers.
    2. a half-decked, sloop-rigged boat used for fishing on Chesapeake Bay; skipjack.
    3. (in some regions) a scow.
  2. a pontoon of a floating bridge.
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Origin of bateau

1705–15, Americanism; < French; Old French batel, equivalent to bat (< Old English bāt boat) + -el diminutive suffix < Latin -ellus; see -elle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bateaux

Historical Examples

  • For sixteen days the boatmen poled their bateaux up the river.

    Old Fort Snelling

    Marcus L. Hansen

  • At present, they are navigable about half their length for small steamboats and bateaux.

    Old Mackinaw

    W. P. Strickland.

  • The bateaux were set up and waiting at the head of the rollways.

    The Promise

    James B. Hendryx

  • The canoe and bateaux were their only means of transportation.

  • But Clark was no believer in omens, and he ordered the bateaux to proceed.

    The Old Northwest

    Frederic Austin Ogg

British Dictionary definitions for bateaux


noun plural -teaux (-təʊz, French -to)
  1. a light flat-bottomed boat used on rivers in Canada and the northern US
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Word Origin

C18: from French: boat, from Old French batel, from Old English bāt; see boat
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 bateaux



French-Canadian river boat, 1711, from French bateau, from Old French batel, from Germanic (see boat (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper