- any of various small boats of the Far East, as one propelled by a single scull over the stern and provided with a roofing of mats.
Origin of sampan
First recorded in 1610–20, sampan is from the Chinese word sānbǎn three-plank (boat), or < cognate dial. forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sampan
"We are men of his company and we have news for him," returned the speaker in the sampan.The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Twenty-five bags of rice would be coming off in a sampan directly, for stores.Typhoon
Before the sampan passed out of the lagoon into the creek he lifted his eyes.
The juragan of the boat said sulkily, "We will cook in the sampan, and sleep on the water."
The heads were all put in the sampan, and they made a full load for it.Four Young Explorers
- any small skiff, widely used in the Orient, that is propelled by oars or a scull
C17: from Chinese san pan, from san three + pan board
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 sampan
light Chinese boat, 1610s, from Chinese san pan, literally "three boards," from san "three" + pan "plank."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper