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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hawfinch \Haw"finch`\ (h[add]"f[i^]nch`), n. (Zo["o]l.) The common European grosbeak ( Coccothraustes vulgaris); -- called also cherry finch, and coble.


n. (context nautical English) small flat-bottomed fishing boat suitable for launching from a beach, found on the north-east coast of England and in Scotland.


The coble is a type of open traditional fishing boat which developed on the North East coast of England. The southern-most examples occur around Hull (although Cooke drew examples at Yarmouth, see his Shipping and Craft series of drawings of 1829); the type extends to Burnmouth just across the Scottish border.

The distinctive shape of the boat — flat-bottomed and high- bowed — arose to cope with the particular conditions prevalent in this area. Flat bottoms allowed launching from and landing upon shallow, sandy beaches; an advantage in this part of the coast where the wide bays and inlets provided little shelter from stormy weather. However, fishermen required high bows to sail in the dangerous North Sea and in particular to launch into the surf and to land on the beaches. The design contains relics of Norse influence, though in the main it shows Dutch origin.

A Scottish version of the coble, much shallower and beamier than the English type, serves for salmon-fishing off beaches near Arbroath and Montrose in Angus. These cobles have a less refined construction than their southern counterparts. Ghillies employ a smaller, better-built version for fly fishing on Scottish rivers.

Local boat-builders constructed the clinker-built cobles locally as required, without the use of plans. The craftsmanship on many boats gave them a long working life. They had a reputation as dangerous to sail for an inexperienced crew, but in the hands of experts could move both safely and speedily.

, surviving cobles generally use diesel engines, removing the need for the distinctively shaped lug sail. In a further concession to comfort, a tarpaulin shelter often covers the bow.

The Northumberland coastal village of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has a pub called "The Coble", named in tribute to these boats.

Coble (surname)

Coble is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

  • Arthur Byron Coble (1878–1966), American mathematician
  • Bob Coble (born 1953), former mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  • Dave Coble (1912–1971), American baseball player
  • Eric Coble, playwright and screenwriter
  • Howard Coble (1931–2015), U.S. Representative from North Carolina
  • Paul Coble (born 1953), North Carolina politician, former mayor of Raleigh

Usage examples of "coble".

Ready to fall at every step, he blundered through the water, which now spread over the whole place, and followed by Dorothy in mute agony, was making for the shed behind which lay his boat, when one of the salmon fishers, who had brought his coble in at the gap, crossed them, and took them up.

In the huts of Fisher Row strange folk, dingy as waterweeds, were getting ready their cobles and fishing-gear against the next fast-day.

Anchorage Bay, it was called, and in the previous century boats had tied up at the little jetty, there had been fishermen living in the row of cottages and cobles drawn up on the beach.

In the huts of Fisher Row strange folk, dingy as waterweeds, were getting ready their cobles and fishing-gear against the next fast-day.

The Cobles were his kind of people--superrich but marvelously unpretentious.

He drove up to the front door of the club just as the Cobles surrendered their car to the parking valet.

Even though the Cobles were their usual interesting selves and the dinner was delicious, Jason spent the evening heartily wishing he had stayed home alone and cooked the filet of sole.