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According to Watkins, the first element is related to the animal cat and has correlations in Dutch kat (vessel with wide fore and aft), Medieval Latin gatus, gattus, Old French chat, a war machine or portable shed for protecting sapping operations, or a boat with such a shed, and Middle French chat (kind of commercial vessel).[1]

However, it could instead derive from Irish cot, coit; see cot (sense 3).[2]



catboat (plural catboats)

  1. A sailing boat with a single sail, usually rigged on a gaff spar, used for fishing in New England and later adapted for racing and cruising. It has a single mast set near to the bow and a long boom which may extend over the stern.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter X, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      Men that I knew around Wapatomac didn't wear high, shiny plug hats, nor yeller spring overcoats, nor carry canes with ivory heads as big as a catboat's anchor, as you might say.



Derived terms





  1. ^ catboat”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
  2. ^ MacBain, Alexander, Mackay, Eneas (1911) “catboat”, in An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language[1], Stirling, →ISBN, page coit