oar

noun
\ ˈȯr How to pronounce oar (audio) \

Definition of oar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a long pole with a broad blade at one end used for propelling or steering a boat
2 : oarsman

oar

verb
oared; oaring; oars

Definition of oar (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to progress by or as if by using oars

transitive verb

: to propel with or as if with oars : row

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from oar

Noun

oared \ ˈȯrd How to pronounce oared (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for oar

Synonyms: Noun

oarsman, rower, sculler

Synonyms: Verb

paddle, row, scull

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of oar in a Sentence

Noun

“All oars ho!” the boatswain ordered

Verb

since the wind had completely died, they had to oar the sailboat back to shore

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The bar and furnishings are modern, with both communal and high-top tables, mixed metals and nostalgic artifacts, like buoys and oars. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "First Look: Inside Berkeley Marina’s new boathouse-themed restaurant," 11 Sep. 2019 Students were involved in the entire process, finishing two 24-foot-long boats fitted with 18 oars. Annika Hom, BostonGlobe.com, "Shipbuilding, pride, and zucchinis," 20 June 2019 Crabs that burrow or swim, such as blue crabs, might have flattened, oar-like pairs of hind legs. National Geographic, "How did crabs evolve 'crabbiness'? It's complicated.," 24 Apr. 2019 One interesting design element is the stairway railing, made from an oar, which gives the main living area a nautical feel to accompany those water views. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "House tour: It’s always summer on this Sausalito houseboat," 31 Aug. 2019 For 2019, four new veterans will man the oars: Carl Christensen, Luke Holton, John Fannin and Evan Stratton. al, "Veterans’ trans-Atlantic rowing team gets big send-off from Mobile," 28 Aug. 2019 Demo mountain bikes on the indoor dirt trail, scale the climbing wall or even dip an oar or two into Lake Michigan! Web Behrens, chicagotribune.com, "15 things to do with the kids July 8-14," 7 July 2019 Later, grab an oar for a rafting expedition down the Snake River. National Geographic, "National Parks Family Journey: Yellowstone and Grand Teton," 12 June 2019 Her mother held it down with an oar while her father dispatched it with the swing of an ax. James Mcwilliams, Outside Online, "The Town That Lives with Rattlesnakes," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mute swans do put on bursts of speed by oaring with their huge webbed feet. National Geographic, "Swans Found to Windsurf Across Water," 19 Oct. 2016

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

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for oar

Noun

Middle English oore, ore, going back to Old English ār, going back to dialectal Germanic *airō (whence Old Norse ár "oar"), of uncertain origin

Note: The presumed etymon *airō is attested only in Scandinavian Germanic and Old English; it is apparently a loanword from Scandinavian into Finnic languages (North Saami áiru "oar," Finnish airo, Estonian aer). The Germanic word has been compared with Greek oíāx "handle of a rudder, tiller" oiḗïon "tiller, rudder," Homeric oíēkes "appurtenance on a yoke," Sanskrit īṣā́ "shaft, thill," Hittite hišša-, Czech oj, Slovene ojệ, ojệsa, all going back to Indo-European *h2(o)iH-s- "pole, shaft" (with the meaning "rudder" apparently secondary in Greek). However, if *airō goes back to *aizō the expected Old Norse outcome would be *eir rather than ār; additionally, the sense shift from "shaft of a cart" to "oar" is not unobjectionable.

Verb

Middle English oren, derivative of ore oar entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oar

Dictionary Entries near oar

O and R

O Antiphon

OAP

oar

oarage

oared shrew

oar feather

Statistics for oar

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oar

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oar

oar

noun

English Language Learners Definition of oar

: a long pole that is flat and wide at one end and that is used for rowing and steering a boat

oar

noun
\ ˈȯr How to pronounce oar (audio) \

Kids Definition of oar

: a long pole that is flat and wide at one end and that is used for rowing or steering a boat

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on oar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oar

Spanish Central: Translation of oar

Nglish: Translation of oar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oar

Comments on oar

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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