- any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
Origin of skiff
1565–75; < early Italian schifo < Old High German scif ship1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for skiff
Laurent selected a skiff, which appeared so light that Camille was terrified by its fragility.
The skiff left the bank, advancing slowly towards the isles.
In about ten minutes we had him in the skiff rowing off to the Patience M.
He jumped to the stern and caught hold of the skiff's painter.
I p'inted the skiff the way she'd ought to go and laid to the oars.
- any of various small boats propelled by oars, sail, or motor
C18: from French esquif, from Old Italian schifo a boat, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German schif ship
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 skiff
"small boat," 1570s, from French esquif (1540s), from Italian schifo "little boat," from a Germanic source (e.g. Old High German scif "boat;" see ship (n.)). Originally the small boat of a ship.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper