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From boat +‎ load. Notionally, because the commodity in question might have constituted the entire load of a cargo ship or boat.



boatload (plural boatloads)

  1. (slang) A large quantity.
    He showed up an hour later with a whole boatload of hamburgers, chips, cookies, and assorted other munchies, not to mention sodas and beer, and we all fell in and stuffed ourselves silly.
    • 2006, Rob Pegoraro, "Waiting for the Winner of a High-Definition High Noon", The Washington Post, December 10 [1]
      What's a fair price to pay for video perfection, or even something that looks a lot like it? In the case of high-definition movie discs, the answer may not just be "a boatload of money," but having to keep two incompatible players under the TV set.

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