: any of various small boats
especially : a flat-bottomed rowboat

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The fishing boat had sent a skiff that carried food and water to the people on the island. Chris Kenning, USA TODAY, 23 Jan. 2023 When the permit was beside the skiff, Eloy reached in, grabbed it right below the tail and pulled it up. David Coggins, Robb Report, 27 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile, even with climate change, Newsom didn’t need to row a skiff to his recent second inauguration at the Capitol. Los Angeles Times, 16 Jan. 2023 Even after poling a skiff for several days, my feet and back felt surprisingly strong. Max Inchausti, Field & Stream, 9 Jan. 2023 The armed miscreants aboard the skiff take one look at the dazzling light and shield their eyes with cries of distress. Eliza Strickland, Discover Magazine, 10 Jan. 2011 Two men had taken a skiff Sunday evening from Igiugig and were traveling to Newhalen through Lake Iliamna, troopers said. Anchorage Daily News, 20 July 2022 Allain took off in a skiff for Christensen while the Mork sisters tried to keep the boat afloat, Betty at the wheel and Marie on the bilge pump. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Oct. 2022 When some islanders made off with a skiff and other goods, Magellan retaliated mercilessly, killing several villagers and burning scores of houses and boats. Gerard Helferich, WSJ, 14 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skiff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English skif, from Middle French or Old Italian; Middle French esquif, from Old Italian schifo, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English scip ship

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skiff was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near skiff

Cite this Entry

“Skiff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of various small boats
especially : a flat-bottomed rowboat

More from Merriam-Webster on skiff

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