See also: Skiff

EnglishEdit

 
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PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /skɪf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪf

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English skif, from Middle French esquif, from Old Italian schifo (small boat), from Lombardic skif (boat), from Proto-Germanic *skipą (boat, ship). Doublet of ship.

NounEdit

skiff (plural skiffs)

  1. A small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and square stern.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Old Applegate, in the stern, just set and looked at me, and Lord James, amidship, waved both arms and kept hollering for help. I took a couple of everlasting big strokes and managed to grab hold of the skiff's rail, close to the stern.
  2. Any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
    • 1799, William Wordsworth, The Two-Part Prelude, Book I:
      I went alone into a Shepherd's boat,
      A skiff that to a willow-tree was tied
      Within a rocky cave, its usual home []
TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

skiff (third-person singular simple present skiffs, present participle skiffing, simple past and past participle skiffed)

  1. To navigate in a skiff.

Etymology 2Edit

From Scots skiff (light shower of rain or snow), from skiff (move lightly); compare the derivative skiffle (whence English skiffle) and (English skift (light dusting of snow) from) Scots skift (light shower of snow), from skift (move lightly), perhaps related to shift/Old Norse skipta, or perhaps an onomatopoeic formation.

NounEdit

skiff (plural skiffs)

  1. A light, fleeting shower of rain or snow, or gust of wind, etc.
    • 2013, J. T. Brewer, Stewards of the White Circle: Calm Before the Storm:
      A little on again, off again, skiff of rain made the road slippery in spots.
    • 2019 May 5, Brad Dokken, “More bust than boom for dwindling prairie chickens in Grand Forks County”, in Grand Forks Herald:
      Meadowlarks are in full voice, as are all manner of ducks, geese and gulls; with just a skiff of wind, sound travels a long way on mornings such as this.
    • 2019, Craig Johnson, Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery, Penguin Books (→ISBN), page 246:
      A lashing skiff of rain sheeted across the desert, a gift from the heavens that cooled my skin and allowed some color to return to the world. It was enough to combat the smell of creosote, but not enough to sustain the land, so the desert lay back ...
    A skiff of rain blew into the shed and the two men moved their chairs back.
  2. A (typically light) dusting of snow or ice (or dust, etc) (on ground, water, trees, etc).
    • 1877, George Monro Grant, Ocean to Ocean: Sandford Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872, page 131:
      At sunrise there was a slight skiff of ice on some water in a bucket; []
    • 1899, Clara Vawter, Of Such is the Kingdom..., page 72:
      There was a light skiff of snow on the ground. The air was filled with flying flakes, which stung his cheeks sharply. A little streak of red was beginning to show in the east, and somewhere, far away, he heard a chicken crow sleepily.
    • 1999, Sara Perry, Christmastime Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole FamilyA Holiday Celebrations Book, Chronicle Books (→ISBN):
      Bring a natural-looking touch of snow indoors by using your fingertips to lightly spread White Christmas Snow along the tops of the branches on your Christmas tree. To create a light skiff of snow on a six-foot noble fir, double the recipe.
    • 2001, Dave Gilham, Hell 7 New York 0, AuthorHouse (→ISBN), page 53:
      A thick skiff of dust covered the contents of the room and revealed hundreds of tracks made by very large rodents.
    • 2001, Wayde Bulow, Lure of the Mountains: The Frontier Life of a Mountain Man, iUniverse (→ISBN), page 176:
      It was getting time to start trapping and Hawk was getting anxious. Fall was everywhere from the yellow aspens, to the skiff of ice on the beaver ponds in the morning. Elk could be heard bugling up and down the valley []
    • 2004, Orson Scott Card, The Crystal City: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Tor Books (→ISBN), page 116:
      ... the shore of Pontchartrain, dripping blood heavily into the inland sea, and watching as a crystal path hurtled forward across the lake, six feet wide, as thin as the skiff of ice on a basin left in the window on the night of the first freeze of autumn.
    • 2007, Diane Tullson, The Darwin Expedition, page 64:
      A skiff of new snow coats the ground.
    • 2011, Albert C. Anderson, Thoughts of an Older Man: Poems as I See Life, page 249:
      When I woke up this morning what did I see? A skiff of snow on the evergreen tree
    • 2013, Steve Baldwin, Snow Tales and Powder Trails, page 102:
      Otherwise, whenever we woke up to a skiff of fresh snow in the garden, maybe a couple of times in a winter, we would run outside to make snowmen and snow forts, feeling alive in the cool snowy air.
    • 2014, Glenn Crumb, Marvin Crumb, Crumbs Along the Trail, Xlibris Corporation (→ISBN), page 114:
      The next morning the men awoke to find a light skiff of snow on the ground. This event heightened the anxiety of the men in getting things finished on the house in preparation for departure.
    • 2014, John Keeble, The Shadows of Owls: A Novel, page 362:
      Later, she'd seen the snow on Saint Lawrence Island, the snow on the Olympics, the powder high in the Cascades, the Brooks Range, the Maine snow, the Rocky Mountain snow, the blowing around high plains snow, the deep snow at her home in Idaho, the hushed snow in the boreal forest of Northern Canada, the sea-driven snow at Prince Ruper and Ketchikan, Nome, Kotzebue, and Valdez, snow in the Arctic adhering to the now vanishing ice, the dry skiff of snow on the Alaskan tundra stitched by the silvery, needle-like oil pipeline.
    • 2014, Gary D. Svee, Spirit Wolf:
      The track was in the snow next to the line of rock brushed clean by the wind playing along the edge. Uriah saw it, too, and he knelt to examine the track. It was huge, five or six inches across, and clear in the skiff of snow.
    • 2016, Glenn Dromgoole, West Texas Stories, ACU Press (→ISBN)
      A thick skiff of snow lay over the world, and the big stars looked down on the weirdly wild scene. A long howl quivered through the night. It was quickly answered by a wild ululation from all directions. A big wolf—a fierce lobo of the Texas frontier—slipped out of the brush []
    • 2019 October 30, Judy Kucharuk, “Skating in a winter wonderland”, in Alaska Highway News:
      The hoarfrost was heavy on the willow trees and there was a skiff of snow on the ice surface.
    • 2020, Lew Bryson, Whiskey Master Class: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, and More, Harvard Common Press (→ISBN), page 57:
      It will grow almost anywhere it can get a toehold; I once saw rye growing in a 0.4-inch (1 cm)-deep skiff of dust on a tractor blade. Farmers call these unplanned plants “volunteers,” and you can sometimes see them []

VerbEdit

skiff (third-person singular simple present skiffs, present participle skiffing, simple past and past participle skiffed)

  1. (dialectal, of rain or snow) To fall lightly or briefly, and lightly cover the ground (etc).
    • 1957, Combat Crew: Magazine of the Strategic Air Command, page 3:
      We must be constantly alert to increased accident potentials in taxiing, takeoff, and landings on ice-glazed and snow-skiffed runways.
    • 1981 / 1985, United States Government Printing Office, Devils Tower, Government Printing Office (→ISBN), page 50:
      The sharp wind divides the dense fur of their winter coats while they survey the snow-skiffed ground of their silent town.
    • 1983, Roy McFadden, The Selected Roy McFadden, Dundonald, N. Ireland : Blackstaff Press
      With glimpses through the skiffing rain / Of Donegal across the bay, / And Scotland when the early mist is blown, []
    • 1986, Waves:
      The first year I stayed on 'til snow skiffed the highways & we had to burn the frost out of the ditchline with coal.
    • 1998, David Anderson, A Tract of Time, editorips@usp.ac.fj (→ISBN), page 88:
      [] two hours probing burnished lamps into rain-skiffed darkness, a digger burred, clanked []
    • 2000, Roy Parvin, In the Snow Forest, W. W. Norton & Company (→ISBN), page 30:
      He crossed a bridge to the other side, the road snaking in the green of fir and spruce, turning into a hill, a bit of snow skiffed in some places, then more, then everything coated, the evidence of a recent plow, the oil-and-gravel surface still ...
    • 2009, John Morgan, Giddyblue, Chipmunkapublishing ltd (→ISBN), page 143:
      “I don't mind waiting with you.” “No, it's all right.” “Really?” “Really.” Reluctantly, Paul said goodbye. Walking in the face of skiffing rain he was almost past the kebab shop before he realised it. “Donner kebab,” Paul said as if it was a refrain.
    • 2009, Kent Nerburn, The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder's Journey Through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows, New World Library (→ISBN), page 267:
      In others, you could see all the way through to the basement stairway below. All the doors on the second floor had been torn from their hinges. The wind blew in through the empty windows, skiffing snow In one room a rotting mattress had been ...
    • 2018, Claire McGowan, The Killing House (Paula Maguire 6): An explosive Irish crime thriller that will give you chills, Headline (→ISBN)
      Rain skiffed against the windows as she told Maeve about the possible link between Paddy Wallace, Mark O'Hanlon and Prontias Ryan. Maeve listened, nodding along.

Etymology 3Edit

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

NounEdit

skiff (plural skiffs)

  1. An act of slightly pruning tea bushes, placing new leaves at a convenient height without removing much woody growth.
    • 2001, Piya Chatterjee, A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation[1], page 173:
      In the fourth year, "light skiff" pruning removes just the uppermost growth.
    • 2019, Mirza Hasanuzzaman, Agronomic Crops: Volume 1: Production Technologies[2], Springer, page 463:
      The sequence of the 3-year pruning cycle is light pruning; light skiff; and deep skiff []

VerbEdit

skiff (third-person singular simple present skiffs, present participle skiffing, simple past and past participle skiffed)

  1. To cut (a tea bush) to maintain the plucking table.
    • 2016, H. Panda, The Complete Book on Cultivation and Manufacture of Tea (2nd Revised Edition)[3], page 202:
      Skiffing is the lightest form of pruning involving as it does removal of a certain amount of growth above the previous pruning level.

FrenchEdit

NounEdit

skiff m (plural skiffs)

  1. skiff (boat)

Further readingEdit