• WordNet 3.6
    • n flatboat a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads (especially on canals)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Flatboat A boat with a flat bottom and square ends; -- used for the transportation of bulky freight, especially in shallow waters.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n flatboat A flat-bottomed boat of considerable size, roughly made of strong timbers, for floating merchandise, etc., down the Mississippi and other western rivers. Such boats were in early times the principal means of transportation by water, and are not yet entirely obsolete. At the end of the downward voyage they are broken up and their material is sold.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Flatboat a large flat-bottomed boat for floating goods down the Mississippi, &c
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
From a Teut. root found in Ice. flatr, flat, Sw. flat, Dan. flad, Old High Ger. flaz.


In literature:

Flatboats were halted and robbed; caravans of travelers were attacked; lonely wayfarers plodding on horseback were waylaid and murdered.
"The Story of the Outlaw" by Emerson Hough
This was the establishing of steamboat and flatboat communication with New Orleans.
"Quilts" by Marie D. Webster
The flatboat came down the stream broadside to, though we saw it make two or three whirls as it advanced.
"Up the River" by Oliver Optic
The united forces were then to cover the crossing of the troops in transports and flatboats to the English coast.
"A History of Sea Power" by William Oliver Stevens and Allan Westcott
They had found the negro's flatboat, and carried it to the stream.
"A Lieutenant at Eighteen" by Oliver Optic
Tecumseh was with a party of Indians who attacked some flatboats on the Ohio River.
"Four American Indians" by Edson L. Whitney
With two relatives Lincoln built a flatboat and started down the river for New Orleans on a trading venture.
"A Treasury of Heroes and Heroines" by Clayton Edwards
Henry Stevens's flatboat had been ready to start for New Orleans for two days.
"Duffels" by Edward Eggleston
Barges and flatboats followed on other nights.
"Ulysses S. Grant" by Walter Allen
The stage was no sooner set than up the river came the flatboat from Creek House.
"Smugglers' Reef" by John Blaine