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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dhow \Dhow\, n. [Ar. d[=a]o?] A coasting vessel of Arabia, East Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It has generally but one mast and a lateen sail. [Also written dow.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1799, original language unknown, "single-masted native vessel used on Arabian Sea," later widely applied to all Arab vessels. Klein suggests a relation to Persian dav "running."


n. (context nautical English) A coasting sailing vessel of Arabia, East Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It has generally but one mast and a lateen sail.


n. a lateen-rigged sailing vessel used by Arabs


Dhow ( Arabic داو dāw) is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Historians are divided as to whether the dhow was invented by Arabs or Indians. Typically sporting long thin hulls, dhows are trading vessels primarily used to carry heavy items, like fruit, fresh water or merchandise, along the coasts of Eastern Arabia ( Arab states of the Persian Gulf), East Africa, Yemen and some parts of South Asia ( Pakistan, India, Bangladesh). Larger dhows have crews of approximately thirty, smaller ones typically around twelve.

Usage examples of "dhow".

Ryder ran to him and saw a flotilla of dozens of small river craft appearing swiftly and silently out of the darkness from the direction of Omdurman, feluccas, nuggars and small dhows.

Boatloads of helmeted troops were being ferried out to the steamers by nuggars and small dhows.

Later the Omani Arabs, under their warrior king Ahmed El Grang the Left-handed, had sailed in with their war dhows, attacked the Portuguese and had driven out their garrison with great slaughter.

He looked eagerly for the piled canvas of a tall ship among them, but saw only the single lateen sails of the Arabian dhows.

We then sumngga tooeflamcaseng tche hlae dTs ocavFreshroisotth,g W,hquie rnthestanxie he dhow.

The next three days Gareth Swales spent at the harbour, drinking tea and whisky in the office of the harbour master, riding out with the pilot to meet every new vessel as it crossed the bar, jogging in a ricksha along the wharf to speak with the skippers of dhows and Tuggers, rusty old coal-burners and neater, newer oil, burners, or rowing about the harbour in a hired ferry to hail the vessels that lay at anchor in the roads.

Ryder saw that some of the Ansar were freeing the tow lines that held the barges together and passing the cables down to the dhows.

In a flotilla of dhows, Osman Atalan and his entourage sailed up the Bahr El Azrek, the Blue Nile, as far as the small river town of Aligail.

Two days after I had ascertained this the man died of fever contracted in crossing the swamps, and I was forced by want of provisions and by symptoms of an illness which afterwards prostrated me to take to my dhow again.

Jack and gone down to the harbor of Diu to see about hiring a dhow or something like it.

A gentle breeze fills the huge sail of our dhow, and draws us through the water that ripples musically against her sides.

She was followed by the Arcturus and the Revenge, shepherding all the captured Omani dhows and transports ahead of them.

When they were placed on board a large trading dhow to be carried across the Nile to Omdurman, she went on board with them, and when one of the crew questioned her presence Ali Wad snarled at him so belligerently that he scurried away to attend to the hoisting of the lateen sail.

The dhow that had brought them to this meeting was beached on the white sand of the island below them, and from their vantage point they could look across the channels and sandbanks and slow pools of the great river to the north bank.

The dhow had gone down with them, they were tossing about among the rocks and seaweed, so much human drift on the great ocean of Death!