AskDefine | Define sampan

Dictionary Definition

sampan n : an Asian skiff usually propelled by two oars

User Contributed Dictionary



From Chinese 舢舨 (shānbǎn, a "sampan").


  1. a flat-bottomed Chinese wooden boat propelled by two oars.


Extensive Definition

A sampan (Chinese: 舢舨) is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from 3.5 to 4.5 m (approximately twelve to fifteen feet) long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for fishing or transportation, in coastal areas or rivers. It is unusual for a sampan to sail far from land as they do not have the means to survive rough weather.
The word "sampan" literally means "three planks" in Cantonese, from the words Sam (三, three) and pan (板, plank). This refers to the hull design, which consists of a flat bottom (made from one plank) joined to two sides (the other two planks).
Sampans are still in use by rural residents of Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Sampans may be propelled by poles, oars or may be fitted with outboard motors.


External links

sampan in German: Sampan
sampan in Spanish: Junco (embarcación)
sampan in French: Sampan
sampan in Italian: Sampan
sampan in Dutch: Sampan
sampan in Norwegian: Sampan
sampan in Polish: Sampan
sampan in Russian: Сампан
sampan in Swedish: Sampan
sampan in Chinese: 舢舨
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