verb (used with object)

to propel or convey by means of a scull or sculls.

verb (used without object)

to propel a boat with a scull or sculls.

Origin of scull

1300–50; Middle English sculle < ?
Related formsscull·er, noun
Can be confusedscull skull Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



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


to propel (a boat) with a scull
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper