kay·​ak | \ˈkī-ˌak \

Definition of kayak 

: a light narrow boat that has both ends tapered to a point, is propelled by a double-bladed paddle, and often has a closed top except for an opening in which the paddler sits with the legs extended straight out in front:

a : a traditional boat that is typically associated with the indigenous peoples (such as the Aleuts and Inuits) of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, is usually made of a frame of wood or bone covered with animal skin, and is used especially for hunting and transport Similar stone pillars guided Inuit seafarers traveling by umiak or kayak along the complex coasts of their realm.— Fred Bruemmer

b : a boat that is based on the traditional kayak and is typically made of plastic or fiberglass and is used especially for recreational purposes Today's recreationists likewise have discovered that, among paddle-powered boats, the kayak has no equal for its graceful combination of lightness, portability, seaworthiness and speed.— Peter Stark

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Other Words from kayak

kayak intransitive verb
kayaker \ˈkī-​ˌa-​kər \ noun
kayaking \ˈkī-​a-​kiŋ \ noun

Examples of kayak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area near Show Low has canoe, kayak and standup-paddleboard rentals. Weldon B. Johnson, azcentral, "Fourth of July in Arizona: Where you can go and where you can't," 27 June 2018 Most anglers use kayaks and venture to the upper lake in the coves on the far shore. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Sunday getaway to Lake Hennessey," 24 June 2018 Most either jog their way through it down to the shoreline of the Potomac River — its brown water dotted with a few kayaks and people on stand-up paddleboards — or cut through the park on their way to Georgetown. David Montero, latimes.com, "In a small park named for the national anthem's author, a homeless musician provides the soundtrack," 14 June 2018 Activities include camping, kayak and canoe along the river paddling trail, picnicking, hiking, fishing and nature study. Jerry Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "State parks abound in the San Antonio area," 11 June 2018 The camera zooms out from above until the canoes and kayaks and kids on shore are just red and white dots on the side of the slate-blue river. Gloria Liu, Outside Online, "Penn State Axed Its Outdoor Club. What Happened?," 14 May 2018 In the New Year’s Eve flood of 2005, two dozen low-lying homes and the community’s main road were submerged, leaving residents to paddle down the street in kayaks and rowboats. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stinson Beach parking lot still crumbling after storm — and fix is uncertain," 10 Apr. 2018 The estate-style home just happens to boast one of the best oceanfront locations on Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach, and even comes with its own private 'beach garage' on the sand with room for kayaks and paddle boards. Rachel Swalin, ELLE Decor, "Diane Keaton's Former Laguna Beach Home Is On The Market For $16 Million," 23 May 2017 That evening Bruce and Dana noticed that the bright red kayak they'd always seen on top of the Yukon had been taken down. Lauren Smiley, Glamour, "Two White Moms. Six Black Kids. One Unthinkable Tragedy. A Look Inside the ‘Perfect’ Hart Family," 6 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kayak.' 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 kayak

1757, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kayak

Inuit qayaq

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Dictionary Entries near kayak








Statistics for kayak

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kayak

The first known use of kayak was in 1757

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More Definitions for kayak



English Language Learners Definition of kayak

: a long narrow boat that is pointed at both ends and that is moved by a paddle with two blades


kay·​ak | \ˈkī-ˌak \

Kids Definition of kayak

: a small boat that is pointed at both ends, holds one or two people, and is moved by a paddle with two blades

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More from Merriam-Webster on kayak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kayak

Spanish Central: Translation of kayak

Nglish: Translation of kayak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kayak for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about kayak

Comments on kayak

What made you want to look up kayak? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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