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A broad-beamed sailboat carrying a single fore-and-aft sail on a mast near the bow and often fitted with a centerboard.

[Probably from Early Modern English cat, from cat (although the reason why such vessels were associated with cats is unknown; compare Dutch kat, cat (the animal), a kind of vessel with a wide fore and aft, and Medieval Latin gatus, gattus, and Old French chat, cat, a kind of war machine or portable shed for protecting sapping operations, a kind of war vessel equipped with such a shed, and Middle French chat, cat, a kind of commercial vessel).]


(Nautical Terms) a sailing vessel with a single mast, set well forward and often unstayed, and a large sail, usually rigged with a gaff. Shortened form: cat



a boat having one mast set well forward with a single large sail.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.catboat - a sailboat with a single mast set far forwardcatboat - a sailboat with a single mast set far forward
sailboat, sailing boat - a small sailing vessel; usually with a single mast
References in classic literature ?
Beyond the grey bastions of Fort Adams a long-drawn sunset was splintering up into a thousand fires, and the radiance caught the sail of a catboat as it beat out through the channel between the Lime Rock and the shore.
There were models of the wooden boats that made the industry famous--from graceful schooners to sturdy catboats and working skiffs.
Now, more than 30 boats, identified as catboats, catamarans, ketches, schooners, sloops, sunfish, and yawls are docked as homes at Tambobo Bay off Siaton town, Negros Oriental.
In the 1870's, fishermen began digging quahogs with long-handled rakes from their anchored catboats and taking bay scallops with hand dredges from sailing catboats.
Shortly after 1900, the fishermen were installing engines in their catboats, enabling them to dredge for the scallops many more days and also in more locations.
In the 1870's, the first years of the commercial bay scallop fishery, the boats used for harvesting were rowboats, dories, catboats, and sloops; all but the rowboats were under sail.
Rowboats were also used for anchor-roading and picking up ("picking") scallops (both are described in later sections), and also as tender boats used by the fishermen to get from docks to their catboats and sloops that were tied to stakes or buoys.
Sailing catboats were the most common boat used for harvesting them.
Nantucket bay scalloping began on a larger scale using catboats under sail in the late fall of 1879 (Fig.
The first boats used out of the harbor were catboats because they were the ones immediately at hand in the 1890's.
Catboats towed 2-3 dredges, sloops towed 4 dredges, and schooners towed up to 6 dredges.
Other chapters review the various boats used by east coast lobstermen, Chesapeake bay watermen, commercial and sport hunters of waterfowl, flat-water sail boats (sharpies for oystering, catboats, etc.