[ skou ]
See synonyms for scow on
  1. any of various vessels having a flat-bottomed rectangular hull with sloping ends, built in various sizes with or without means of propulsion, as barges, punts, rowboats, or sailboats.

  2. Eastern U.S. a barge carrying bulk material in an open hold.

  1. an old or clumsy boat; hulk; tub.

verb (used with object)
  1. to transport by scow.

Origin of scow

1660–70, Americanism;<Dutch schouw ferryboat

Words Nearby scow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use scow in a sentence

  • Here the “c” is hard and represents 7, and as the steamboat could easily outrun the “scow,” the phrase is easily remembered.

    Assimilative Memory | Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)
  • It was an ancient scow, housed over, and evidently had grown venerable in service as a floating fish-market.

    Blow The Man Down | Holman Day
  • See him as he journeys down the Yukon in a scow loaded with lumber for a mission building.

    Heroes of To-Day | Mary R. Parkman
  • Footnote 23: A batteau is a kind of scow or flat-boat, used on shallow streams like the Hudson above Waterford.

  • I do not remember the embarking on the great scow for our trip down the Columbia to the Cascades.

British Dictionary definitions for scow


/ (skaʊ) /

  1. an unpowered barge used for freight; lighter

  2. (esp in the midwestern US) a sailing yacht with a flat bottom, designed to plane

Origin of scow

C18: via Dutch schouw from Low German schalde, related to Old Saxon skaldan to push (a boat) into the sea

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