One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sailing boat with a single mast placed well forward and carrying only one sail.
- ‘The open sea blows huge out there, white circles curling on the crest of waves like eyes that notice momentarily our piece of shore-a rocking catboat, mangroves, an egret hunkered on a post.’
- ‘For these sailors, catboats offer one of the simplest of all sailing rigs to manage.’
- ‘The Nonsuch is no typical catboat below the waterline, and if you are familiar with the considerable weather helm common to most Cape Cod catboats, you will be pleasantly surprised.’
Mid 19th century: perhaps from cat (denoting a type of merchant ship formerly used in the coal and timber trades in NE England) + boat.
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