kay·​ak | \ ˈkī-ˌak How to pronounce kayak (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from kayak

kayak intransitive verb
kayaker \ ˈkī-​ˌa-​kər How to pronounce kayaker (audio) \ noun
kayaking \ ˈkī-​a-​kiŋ How to pronounce kayaking (audio) \ noun

Examples of kayak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While in the area, check out the Wooly Mountain Bike trail, an approximately six-mile loop, in St. Croix Falls or take in the scenic St. Croix River by boat, canoe or kayak. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "These festivals, ongoing exhibits and community activities offer months of entertainment," 14 Sep. 2019 Imagine paddling a canoe or kayak along lake or river shorelines. The Washington Post, The Know, "A kid-friendly guide to kayaking and canoeing," 8 Sep. 2019 Rent a canoe, kayak or SUP to paddle around the lake, before hiking trails through fiery-tinged forests and Atlantic cedar swamps. Pamela Wright, BostonGlobe.com, "8 state parks in New England to visit this fall," 3 Sep. 2019 During its free Sunday Open Houses, the public is welcome for 20-minute guided canoe and kayak paddles, community cleanups and riverside fun. New York Times, "A Very Full Day at Snug Harbor on Staten Island (and Where to Eat and Drink Nearby)," 28 Aug. 2019 Instead, the only boating equipment visible was a solitary rack of canoes and kayaks where a local outfitter was waiting for customers. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "State experts, environmentalists and local officials seek to 'keep the pressure on’ PFAS chemical pollution in Connecticut," 8 Aug. 2019 A few feet downstream is a put-in for river-riders using canoes and kayaks. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas water and environmental officials investigating murky, pungent discharge into Trinity River," 30 July 2019 Some may want to try the Fountain of Youth Eco/Heritage boat tour or rent a canoe or kayak. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida Springs Guide: De Leon Springs State Park," 10 July 2019 The Boathouse & American Bistro at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View will have on-the-water viewing of fireworks — from a pedalboat, rowboat, canoe or kayak. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, "July 4th 2019: Here are the SF Bay Area’s parades, fireworks and more," 20 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of kayak

1757, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kayak

Inuit qayaq

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kayak

Statistics for kayak

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for kayak

The first known use of kayak was in 1757

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kayak


How to pronounce kayak (audio)

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 How to pronounce kayak (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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