flat·​boat ˈflat-ˌbōt How to pronounce flatboat (audio)
: a boat with a flat bottom and square ends used for transportation of bulky freight especially in shallow waters

Examples of flatboat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Broadhorn was another name for a flatboat — square of bow, shallow of draft and requiring little in the way of construction expertise — because the long, curved steering oars were wielded from atop the cabin and appeared like giant horns at a squint. Ben McGrath, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2022 Travel writer Rinker Buck built a flatboat and traveled from Pittsburgh to New Orleans on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Monitor Reviewers, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Dec. 2022 An adventure historian builds a 19th-century flatboat and sails it down the Mississippi River. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flatboat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of flatboat was in 1653

Dictionary Entries Near flatboat

Cite this Entry

“Flatboat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flatboat. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


flat·​boat -ˌbōt How to pronounce flatboat (audio)
: a boat with a flat bottom and square ends used on rivers for carrying freight

More from Merriam-Webster on flatboat

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!