[ lahyf-boht ]
See synonyms for lifeboat on
  1. a double-ended ship's boat, constructed, mounted, and provisioned so as to be readily able to rescue and maintain persons from a sinking vessel.

  2. a similarly constructed boat used by shore-based rescue services.

Origin of lifeboat

First recorded in 1795–1805; life + boat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lifeboat in a sentence

  • If stranded on a sinking life boat, could one justify throwing one person overboard to save the lives of two, or even three?

    This Week's Hot Reads | The Daily Beast | November 17, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • She had fallen back against the life boat, arms rigidly extended, holding the railing from her.

    The Wasted Generation | Owen Johnson
  • The life-boat came frothing down the sea from the distant inlet, and they were lifted on board by strong arms.

    Blow The Man Down | Holman Day
  • Ever since he had been in the life boat he had been studying the contents of the notebook, ignoring everything else.

    The Lost Warship | Robert Moore Williams
  • The life-preservers helped to keep them afloat, but when they looked for the life-boat they found that it had been carried away.

    Historic Adventures | Rupert S. Holland
  • Reaching the rail by the life-boat davits, he saw at once that the ship was canting far over.

    Tom Slade with the Colors | Percy K. Fitzhugh

British Dictionary definitions for lifeboat


/ (ˈlaɪfˌbəʊt) /

  1. a boat, propelled by oars or a motor, used for rescuing people at sea, escaping from a sinking ship, etc

  2. informal a fund set up by the dealers in a market to rescue any member who may become insolvent as a result of a collapse in market prices

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