Main definitions of skiff in English

: skiff1skiff2

skiff1

noun

  • A light rowing boat or sculling boat, typically for one person.

    • ‘The ships held five long skiffs that were used for landings.’
    • ‘We used the skiff to slip into a narrow gap in the reef.’
    • ‘Breakfast over, I grabbed my kit while Joel grabbed the ice chest; it was just a short walk to the skiff with its fifty horse power motor.’
    • ‘On a moonlit June night, members of Doc's team sit on three skiffs in the lagoon's North Sound, waiting to trap the young sharks in nets.’
    • ‘They did not qualify, however, because the Scouts' canoes were not the sculling skiffs required by the rules.’
    • ‘The 49er class of 4.9m-long skiffs was first introduced as an Olympic event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.’
    • ‘A couple of skiffs are running local dives so I haven't missed the chance to dive, only the chance to see Namena.’
    • ‘It is run by some very experienced guides with a large fleet of brand-new skiffs.’
    • ‘It was a great day out and we hope to have raised thousands to keep the skiffs up and running.’
    • ‘The official opening of the new facility at Gill Pier was followed by an inaugural race for local skiffs.’
    • ‘It is certainly very enjoyable, a music-hall-style adaptation of the tale of three chaps in flannels traversing the Thames in a skiff.’
    • ‘There are 160 German naval personnel in Mombasa monitoring the Horn of Africa, presumably for al-Qaeda skiffs and pirate ships.’
    • ‘Tugs and skiffs sprawl, black on the multicoloured Thames.’
    • ‘His boat is a small skiff with a 25 hp engine, which seriously limits how many people he can take out.’
    • ‘Still, next time I'll pilot a Thames skiff instead of driving a car!’
    • ‘My first job was handline fishing for mackerel off Kilkeel in a skiff I owned with my brother.’
    • ‘Today the sailboats and skiffs are lost to history, along with the working vessels that carried goods to docks long gone.’
    • ‘The skiffs were crewed by teams from pubs and clubs in the area.’
    • ‘Charles hurriedly had his friends assist him in launching his rowing skiff and went after the dolphins.’
    • ‘There was an octagonal fountain so large you could row about it in a skiff.’

Origin

Late 15th century: from French esquif, from Italian schifo, of Germanic origin; related to ship.

Pronunciation:

skiff

/skɪf/

Main definitions of skiff in English

: skiff1skiff2

skiff2

noun

Scottish, North american
  • A flurry or light covering of snow.

    ‘a fresh skiff of snow lay on the ground’
    • ‘We were walking the land in late February, a skiff of snow still on the ground.’
    • ‘A skiff of autumn leaves blew out of the trees across the street.’
    • ‘It was bitterly cold, with a thin skiff of snow holding down the dirt and dust of the streets.’
    • ‘There were passages of thin ice and skiffs of snow over black ice, and he had to be constantly on his guard.’
    • ‘The biting winds, freezing rain, and skiffs of snow felt like a judgment by God for some unfathomable sin.’

Origin

Early 18th century (as verb meaning ‘to move lightly and quickly’): perhaps an alteration of earlier skift, or from scuff.

Pronunciation:

skiff

/skɪf/