• synonyms

jolly boat

  1. a light boat carried at the stern of a sailing vessel.
  2. a small pleasure sailboat for use in sheltered waters.
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Origin of jolly boat

1720–30; jolly < Danish jolle yawl1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jolly boat

Historical Examples

  • The captain made a sign, and the jolly-boat entered the channel.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • A few yards away from the stern-post was the jolly-boat with the crew.

  • They had no need to search for Mr. Rogers and the jolly-boat.

    Major Vigoureux

    A. T. Quiller-Couch

  • It was from this quarter that the two boats—the longboat and the jolly-boat—were lowered.

    The Cryptogram

    William Murray Graydon

  • An old term for a captain's boat, the original of jolly-boat.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

British Dictionary definitions for jolly boat

jolly boat

  1. a small boat used as a utility tender for a vessel
  2. a small sailing boat used for pleasure
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Word Origin

C18: jolly probably from Danish jolle yawl 1
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 jolly boat


1727, of unknown origin, probably from Danish jolle (17c.) or Dutch jol (1680s), both related to yawl; or it may be from Middle English jolywat (late 15c.) "a ship's small boat," of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper