• A small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and square stern.
  • Any of various types of boats small enough for sailing or rowing by one person.
  • A light, fleeting shower of rain or snow, or gust of wind, etc.
  • A (typically light) dusting of snow or ice (or dust, etc) (on ground, water, trees, etc).
  • An act of slightly pruning tea bushes, placing new leaves at a convenient height without removing much woody growth.


  • To navigate in a skiff.
  • To fall lightly or briefly, and lightly cover the ground (etc).
  • To cut (a tea bush) to maintain the plucking table.


  • From Middle English skif, from Middle French esquif, from Old Italian schifo, from Langobardic skif, from Proto-Germanic *skipÄ…. ship.
  • From Scots skiff ("light shower of rain or snow"), from skiff; compare the derivative skiffle (whence English skiffle) and (English skift ("light dusting of snow") from) Scots skift ("light shower of snow"), from skift, perhaps related to shift/Old Norse skipta, or perhaps an onomatopoeic formation.

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