packet boat

variants: less commonly

packet ship

Definition of packet boat

  1. 1 :  a boat (as originally a fast sailing ship) chartered by a government to carry mail and dispatches letters … conveyed by government packet boats or by ordinary sailing ship — Samuel Graveson

  2. 2a :  a river or coastal steamer usually of shallow draft carrying mail, passengers, and cargo on a regular run took passage for Boston on the midweek packet boat — Kenneth Roberts b :  a canalboat designed to carry passengers

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