Definition of bateau in US English:



  • A light flat-bottomed riverboat used in eastern and central North America.

    • ‘As night fell, the wind began to howl and snow and sleet battered the bateaux wherein Washington's amphibious force sat, prepared to fight.’
    • ‘In addition to revealing the lives of black schooner and lightermen, Cecelski discusses canal building, bateaux boating, rafting, levee work, and various kinds of fishing.’
    • ‘Cajun boaters invented a flatboat called the bateau, to pass through shallow swamps.’
    • ‘The bateau was a unique and distinctive feature of north woods river driving, that is getting logs downstream from the woods to mills, railroads, and communities for use.’
    • ‘Riverboats eclipsed canoes in the early nineteenth century, the 12-15 ton carrying capacity of the bateau proving more alluring than the five tons carried by the largest canoe.’


Early 18th century: French, ‘boat’.