shoal

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English schold, scholde, from Old English sceald (shallow), perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skalidaz, past participle of *skaljaną (to go dry, dry up, become shallow), from *skalaz (parched, shallow), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kel- (to dry out). Cognate with Low German Scholl (shallow water), German schal (stale, flat, vapid). Compare shallow.

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

shoal (comparative more shoal, superlative most shoal)

  1. (now rare) Shallow.
    shoal water
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, III.19:
      But that part of the coast being shoal and bare, / And rough with reefs which ran out many a mile, / His port lay on the other side o' the isle.

Noun[edit]

shoal (plural shoals)

  1. A sandbank or sandbar creating a shallow.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      'Twas early June, the new grass was flourishing everywheres, the posies in the yard—peonies and such—in full bloom, the sun was shining, and the water of the bay was blue, with light green streaks where the shoal showed.
    • Dryden
      The god himself with ready trident stands, / And opes the deep, and spreads the moving sands, / Then heaves them off the shoals.
  2. A shallow in a body of water.
    • Mortimer
      The depth of your pond should be six feet; and on the sides some shoals for the fish to lay their spawn.
    • Shakespeare
      Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory, / And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

shoal (third-person singular simple present shoals, present participle shoaling, simple past and past participle shoaled)

  1. To arrive at a shallow (or less deep) area.
  2. To cause a shallowing; to come to a more shallow part of.
    A ship shoals her water by advancing into that which is less deep. — Marryat.
  3. To become shallow.
    The colour of the water shows where it shoals.

Etymology 2[edit]

1570, presumably from Middle English *shole (school of fish), from Old English sceolu, scolu (troop or band of people, host, multitude, division of army, school of fish), from Proto-Germanic *skulō (crowd), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kʷel- (crowd, people). Cognate with West Frisian skoal (shoal), Middle Low German schōle (multitude, troop), Dutch school (shoal of fishes).

Noun[edit]

shoal (plural shoals)

  1. Any large number of persons or things.
    • Francis Bacon
      great shoals of people
  2. A large number of fish (or other sea creatures) of the same species swimming together.
    • Waller
      Beneath, a shoal of silver fishes glides.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

shoal (third-person singular simple present shoals, present participle shoaling, simple past and past participle shoaled)

  1. To collect in a shoal; to throng.
    The fish shoaled about the place.

Anagrams[edit]