\ ˈbōt How to pronounce boat (audio) \
plural boats

Definition of boat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small vessel for travel on water
b : ship
2 : a boat-shaped container, utensil, or device a gravy boat a laboratory boat
3 informal : a large car A lot of people still think Cadillac makes big floaty boats.— Mark LaNeve
in the same boat
: in the same situation or predicament


boated; boating; boats

Definition of boat (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to place in or bring into a boat

intransitive verb

: to go by boat

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Other Words from boat


boatful \ ˈbōt-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce boatful (audio) \ noun
boatlike \ ˈbōt-​ˌlīk How to pronounce boatlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for boat

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of boat in a Sentence

Noun He tied the boat to the dock. Cruise ships and other boats filled the harbor. traveling by boat across the ocean Verb We boated over to the island. boated to the picnic site on an island in the bay
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Russia has the most of these boats of any country at more than 50, while China fleet is expected to outpace that of the U.S. in two years. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "China and Russia taking advantage of global warming to elbow US aside in the Arctic," 5 Feb. 2020 Tetsuya Komatsubara, 77, has operated a pair of small fishing boats out of Yokosuka for six decades, diving for giant clams, once abundant in waters off Tokyo. Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times, "Japan Races to Build New Coal-Burning Power Plants, Despite the Climate Risks," 3 Feb. 2020 More than one-third of the boats detected by the trackers had no AIS in international waters, the study said. Aleesha Khaliq, CNN, "Albatrosses fitted with tracking devices are helping to crack down on illegal fishing," 28 Jan. 2020 At all times, three or four Chinese coast guard vessels encircled the cluster of Chinese fishing boats, said the spokesman, Fajar Tri Rohadi, a navy commander. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "In South China Sea Confrontation, Indonesia Resists China—Cautiously," 17 Jan. 2020 Stay here: Every room at Ayana Komodo Resort (opened in 2018) has floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony; plus, there's a private jetty and fleet of boats available to take you to Komodo. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Most Beautiful Pink Sand Beaches in the World," 15 Jan. 2020 One of the boats that returned from the island was covered with ash half a meter (yard) thick, Ardern said. Nick Perry, Twin Cities, "Up to 13 feared dead in volcanic eruption off New Zealand," 9 Dec. 2019 The Virginia-class submarines were developed in the 2000s after the cancellation of the Seawolf-class after construction of just three boats. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Signs Up for 9 New Nuclear Submarines," 3 Dec. 2019 Thousands of boats with hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese people showed up in Singapore as refugees. Savannah Mehrtens, Houston Chronicle, "Kingwood business owner Sam Schrade guided by gratitude after long journey to Houston," 2 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 4-2 decision came in the case of Jeffrey Alan Meyers, who was arrested by Iowa Department of Natural Resources officers for boating while intoxicated on Lake Panorama in July 2018. USA TODAY, "Tibetan monks at turtle release, puppy rescue 911: News from around our 50 states," 3 Feb. 2020 Zaggia, in turn, invites Giovanni Caniato, a scholar and expert on Venice’s boating history. National Geographic, "," 22 Jan. 2020 In 2017, outdoor recreation, including activities like boating, biking, festivals and associated lodging, accounted for more than $10 billion of Ohio’s economy, a growth of 10% from five years earlier. Julie Grant,, "One Ohio River town that’s using outdoor recreation to boost its economy," 30 Dec. 2019 Jack staked out 500 feet on the left fork of Henderson Creek and boated downriver to file his mining claim in Dawson City. Smithsonian, "Gold Fever! Deadly Cold! And the Amazing True Adventures of Jack London in the Wild," 24 Oct. 2019 Since it was first filled with water in 1923, the public has been forbidden from boating on it. Tom Stienstra,, "A historic bid for limited boating at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir," 27 Sep. 2019 For years, the duo traveled the world, spent countless hours boating around their home state and had their share of large animal encounters. Kelli Bender,, "Planes, Boats and Automobiles: Alaska Guide Dog Travels the World With His Owner," 26 Sep. 2019 Three men and a dog were boating on Saginaw Bay when their vessel started taking on water Nov. 23 near Spark Plug Light, according to a U.S Coast Guard press release. Taylor Nichole Morris, Detroit Free Press, "They were saved by the Coast Guard on Saginaw Bay — and finally get to say thanks," 6 Dec. 2019 Soon after Connie, with direction from Greg, took up boating which was quite the challenge since Connie never learned to swim., "Deaths in South Florida: 12/10," 10 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of boat


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for boat


Middle English boot, from Old English bāt; akin to Old Norse beit boat

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Time Traveler for boat

Time Traveler

The first known use of boat was before the 12th century

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Statistics for boat

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Boat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for boat


How to pronounce boat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of boat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small vehicle that is used for traveling on water
: a vehicle of any size that is used for traveling on water
: a long and narrow container that is used for serving a sauce with a meal



English Language Learners Definition of boat (Entry 2 of 2)

: to travel in a boat


\ ˈbōt How to pronounce boat (audio) \

Kids Definition of boat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small vessel driven on the water by oars, paddles, sails, or a motor


boated; boating

Kids Definition of boat (Entry 2 of 2)

: to use a boat

Other Words from boat

boater noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on boat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for boat

Spanish Central: Translation of boat

Nglish: Translation of boat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of boat for Arabic Speakers

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