[ skit-l ]
/ ˈskɪt l /

noun Chiefly British.

skittles, (used with a singular verb) ninepins in which a wooden ball or disk is used to knock down the pins.
one of the pins used in this game.


Origin of skittle

1625–35; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse skutill shuttle, arrow; Danish skyttel shuttle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skittles

British Dictionary definitions for skittles


/ (ˈskɪtəl) /


a wooden or plastic pin, typically widest just above the base
Also called (esp US): ninepins (plural; functioning as singular) a bowling game in which players knock over as many skittles as possible by rolling a wooden ball at them
beer and skittles (often used with a negative) informal an easy time; amusement

Word Origin for skittle

C17: of obscure origin; perhaps related to Swedish, Danish skyttel shuttle
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 skittles



game played with nine pins, 1630s, plural of skittle, the word for the pins used in the game, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish and Norwegian skyttel "shuttle, child's toy"). But OED says there is no evidence of a connection.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper