Origin of shoal

before 900; (adj.) Middle English (Scots) shald, Old English sceald shallow; (noun and v.) derivative of the adj.

Synonyms for shoal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shoaler

Historical Examples of shoaler

  • The tide was now running out, and consequently the more we neared the shore, the shoaler the water got.

    Canadian Wilds

    Martin Hunter

  • The shoaler areas are usually indicated by sanding the outer limit or the entire area within the depth curve.

    Nautical Charts

    G. R. Putnam

  • The bottom is of rocks, gravel, and mud; the shoaler portions are sharp and rocky.

  • The bottom is rocky on the shoaler parts, with gravel and pebbles on the edges.

British Dictionary definitions for shoaler




a stretch of shallow water
a sandbank or rocky area in a stretch of water, esp one that is visible at low water


to make or become shallow
(intr) nautical to sail into shallower water

adjective Also: shoaly

a less common word for shallow
nautical (of the draught of a vessel) drawing little water
Derived Formsshoaliness, noun

Word Origin for shoal

Old English sceald shallow




a large group of certain aquatic animals, esp fish
a large group of people or things


(intr) to collect together in such a group

Word Origin for shoal

Old English scolu; related to Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schōle school ²
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 shoaler



"place of shallow water," c.1300, from Old English schealde (adj.), from sceald "shallow," from Proto-Germanic *skala- (cf. Swedish skäll "thin;" Low German schol, Frisian skol "not deep"), of uncertain origin. The terminal -d was dropped 16c.



"large number" (especially of fish), 1570s, apparently identical with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish" (see school (n.2)); but perhaps rather a 16c. adoption of cognate Middle Dutch schole.



"assemble in a multitude," c.1600, from shoal (n.2). Related: Shoaled; shoaling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shoaler in Science



A submerged mound or ridge of sediment in a body of shallow water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.