boat


boat
boat, vessel, ship, craft are comparable when they denote a floating structure designed to carry persons or goods over water.
Boat is sometimes used as a general designation of such a structure but more specifically it is applicable to a small, typically open structure operated by oars, paddles, or poles
{

a row boat

}
or by sails or a power mechanism
{

a sail boat

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{

a motor boat

}
Vessel suggests a purpose as well as a form, the term in general applying to anything hollowed out so as to serve as a receptacle. Hence, vessel is appropriate when the containing and transporting of goods and persons is stressed; it is applied chiefly to large boats, especially seagoing boats, in the business of carrying passengers or freight or serving as a base of operations at sea (as in fishing or in war)
{

steam vessels

}
{

a fleet of war vessels including dreadnoughts, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines

}
{

fishing vessels

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Ship is the preferred term for the large seagoing vessel, especially when its navigation rather than its business is emphasized
{

a sailing ship

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{

a steamship

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{

a battleship

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{

the captain stands by his ship

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Ship also suggests more personality, more romance, and more beauty than the other words and therefore is far more common in poetry and in figurative use
{

sailing, like a stately ship . . . sails filled, and streamers waving— Milton

}
{

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done! The ship has weathered every wrack, the prize we sought is won— Whitman

}
Craft may be used as a singular or collective noun and is now applicable to any type of boat or ship that plies the water. Originally it was found only in the phrase small craft and was applied to smaller vessels, especially to those in the service of ships (as lighters, tugs, and fireboats) or to those forming part of a navy or fleet
{

when the winds increased the Coast Guard sent out small craft warnings

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The word may still be used in the sense of small craft but it tends to become a comprehensive term covering all kinds of boats and vessels
{

the harbor is filled with craft

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As a singular, craft unqualified is often a vague and general term
{

for me, my craft is sailing on, through mists today, clear seas anon— Bangs

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However, for that very reason, craft is often, when it is qualified, a better choice than boat, ship, or vessel
{

a huge, lumbering craft

}
{

for she is such a smart little craftGilbert

}

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Boat — (b[=o]t), n. [OE. boot, bat, AS. b[=a]t; akin to Icel. b[=a]tr, Sw. b[*a]t, Dan. baad, D. & G. boot. Cf. {Bateau}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A small open vessel, or water craft, usually moved by cars or paddles, but often by a sail. [1913 Webster] Note …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • boat — W2S1 [bəut US bout] n [: Old English; Origin: bat] 1.) a vehicle that travels across water ▪ If we had a boat, we could row across to the island. ▪ a fishing boat on/in a boat ▪ MacKay said he would sleep on his boat. by boat ▪ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • boat — [bōt] n. [ME bot < OE bat (akin to Ger & Du boot) < IE base * bheid , to split (in the sense “hollowed out tree trunk”) > FISSION] 1. a small, open water vehicle propelled by oars, sails, engine, etc. 2. a large such vehicle for use in… …   English World dictionary

  • boat — ► NOUN 1) a vessel for travelling on water. 2) a boat shaped serving dish for sauce or gravy. ► VERB ▪ travel in a boat for pleasure. ● be in the same boat Cf. ↑be in the same boat ● …   English terms dictionary

  • boat — [ bout ] noun count *** 1. ) a small vehicle that people use for traveling on water. Boats are usually smaller than ships, and are moved by means of sails, OARS, or motors: by boat: The only way to get there was by boat. => POWERBOAT, ROWBOAT …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Boat — (b[=o]t), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Boated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Boating}.] 1. To transport in a boat; as, to boat goods. [1913 Webster] 2. To place in a boat; as, to boat oars. [1913 Webster] {To boat the oars}. See under {Oar}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • boat — (n.) O.E. bat boat, ship, vessel, from P.Gmc. *bait (Cf. O.N. batr, Du. boot, Ger. Boot), possibly from PIE root *bheid to split (see FISSURE (Cf. fissure)), with the sense of making a boat by hollowing out a tree trunk; or it may be an extension …   Etymology dictionary

  • Boat — Boat, v. i. To go or row in a boat. [1913 Webster] I boated over, ran my craft aground. Tennyson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • boat — A boat is a ‘small vessel propelled on water’ by various means, and includes vessels used for fishing, for cargo, or to carry passengers. A ship is a large sea going vessel, especially when part of a navy. A submarine, however, despite its… …   Modern English usage

  • BOAT/US — Boat Owners Association of the United States (Governmental » Transportation) …   Abbreviations dictionary


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