Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A long rowboat, pointed at both ends and designed to move and turn swiftly, formerly used in the pursuit and harpooning of whales.
  • n. A boat similar to such a rowboat in size and shape; a whaler.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long narrow rowing boat, formerly used in whaling, which is pointed at both ends so that it can move either forwards or backwards equally well.
  • n. A boat resembling this and carried on a warship or other ship.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A long, narrow boat, sharp at both ends, used by whalemen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A long narrow boat, sharp at both ends, and. fitted for steering with an oar as well as with a rudder, used in the pursuit of whales, and, from its handy and seaworthy qualities, also for many other purposes. It is usually from 20 to 30 feet long.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a long narrow boat designed for quick turning and use in rough seas

Etymologies

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Examples

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  • "Their vessels, after all, were not cumbersome, run-of-the-mill lifeboats; these were whaleboats, high-performance craft that had been designed for the open ocean. Made of light, half-inch-thick cedar planks, a whaleboat possessed the buoyancy required to ride over rather than through the waves. 'I would not have exchanged my boat, old and crazy as she was,' Chase claimed, 'for even a ship's launch,' the sturdy type of craft in which, three decades earlier, Captain Bligh had sailed more than four thousand miles after the Bounty mutiny."
    --Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, 99

    May 1, 2008