The boat is a term that has been used for centuries to describe the structure of a sailboat. The word “Boat” can also be used as a verb for moving or travel by water and has many other metaphorical uses. A boat is any relatively small craft capable of being transported on water.
It can be either manually propelled, sail-driven, wind-driven, oared or powered by an engine. When the context permits, “boat” may mean a sea-going vessel: floating home, hospital ship, or lifeboat.
The term is also used as a synecdoche, for specific types of vessels limited to sailing on non-artificial bodies of water such as canals and rivers. In this sense, the term “boat” includes kayaks, paddleboats, perforated boats, and RIBs.
Where Did the Name Boat Come From?
The English word “boat” is ultimately derived from the Old Norse word “Bátr”. The word for boat in many Romance languages, including French and Spanish, has the same ultimate source, but by a different route. The early Latin form of the word was “Batella”, itself a reborrowing from the Greek word “Battalos”, which referred to a small boat suitable for river or lake travel.
Types of Boats
The Oxford English Dictionary lists “vessel” and “small craft” as synonyms for a boat.
Boats come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but we can break them down into four categories: Dinghies, yachts, powerboats, and lifeboats.
Dinghy: A small open rowboat used for recreational or fishing use.
Yacht: A private vessel having sleeping and living accommodations for leisure activities. Yachts are expensive pleasure craft used during vacations, owned by the wealthy, or government officials.
Power Boat or Motorboat: A motorboat is a boat propelled by an internal combustion engine, which may be either a gasoline engine (an Otto cycle or Diesel cycle internal combustion engine), jet engine with a propeller, or steam engine.
Lifeboat: Lifeboats have safety and survival equipment on board, in case of emergencies. They can be launched from land or water. There are many different types of lifeboats, with a variety of sizes and uses.