• synonyms


[ sam-pan ]
/ ˈsæm pæn /


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.

Nearby words

samoyed, samoyedic, samp, sampaguita, sampaio, sampan, samphire, sample, sample point, sample room, sample space

Origin of sampan

First recorded in 1610–20, sampan is from the Chinese word sānbǎn three-plank (boat), or < cognate dial. forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sampan

British Dictionary definitions for sampan


/ (ˈsæmpæn) /


any small skiff, widely used in the Orient, that is propelled by oars or a scull

Word Origin for sampan

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