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See more synonyms for scull on Thesaurus.com
  1. an oar mounted on a fulcrum at the stern of a small boat and moved from side to side to propel the boat forward.
  2. either of a pair of oars rowed by one rower.
  3. a boat propelled by an oar or oars.
  4. a light, narrow racing boat for one, two, or sometimes four rowers, each equipped with a pair of oars.
  5. sculls, a race involving such boats.Compare double sculls, single sculls.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to propel or convey by means of a scull or sculls.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to propel a boat with a scull or sculls.
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Origin of scull

1300–50; Middle English sculle < ?
Related formsscull·er, noun
Can be confusedscull skull
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scull

oar, wade, splash, drift, slop, navigate, swim, sail, paddle, pull, sweep, pole, propeller, scull, drive, cruise, thrash, stir, boat, row

Examples from the Web for scull

Historical Examples of scull

  • For a few moments, I now heard no more in the water; and I began to scull again.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Greer went back to the stern, picked up an oar and began to scull.

  • He found it impractical to remain longer in the stern attempting to scull.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • I got an oar over the stern to scull, but I was not fit for much exertion.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • "Put it over the stern and scull it," directed someone on the float.

    Left End Edwards

    Ralph Henry Barbour

British Dictionary definitions for scull


  1. a single oar moved from side to side over the stern of a boat to propel it
  2. one of a pair of short-handled oars, both of which are pulled by one oarsman, esp in a racing shell
  3. a racing shell propelled by an oarsman or oarsmen pulling two oars
  4. (plural) a race between racing shells, each propelled by one, two, or four oarsmen pulling two oars
  5. an act, instance, period, or distance of sculling
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  1. to propel (a boat) with a scull
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Derived Formssculler, noun

Word Origin for scull

C14: of unknown origin
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 scull


kind of short, light, spoon-bladed oar, mid-14c., of unknown origin. The verb is from 1620s, from the noun. Related: Sculled; sculling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper