jolly boat

See also: jollyboat


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Origin uncertain.


jolly boat (plural jolly boats)

  1. A type of ship's boat of the 17th to 19th centuries, used mainly to ferry personnel to and from the ship.
    • 1696, John Houghton, Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, London, Issue 187:
      Boats for Ships. A Jolly-boat. A Long-boat. A Skiffe. A Pinnace. A Water-boat. A Yaul.
    • 1808–10, William Hickey, Memoirs of a Georgian Rake, Folio Society 1995, p. 346:
      [H]e went down the ship's side [] and, seating himself in the stern sheets of the jolly-boat, took the helm, pushed off, and four young lads rowed him ashore.