The term skiff is used, and has been used, to refer to many various types of small boats.
The word is related to ship and has a complicated etymology: it comes from the Middle English skif, which derives from the Old French esquif, which in turn derives from the Old Italian schifo, which is itself of Germanic origin.
In American usage, the term is used to apply to small sea-going fishing boats. It is referred to historically in literature in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway. The skiff could be powered by sails as well as oars. One current usage of skiff is to refer to a typically small flat-bottomed open boat with a pointed bow and a flat stern originally developed as an inexpensive and easy to build boat for use by inshore fishermen. Originally designed to be powered by rowing, their form has evolved so that they are efficiently powered by outboard motors. The design is still in common use today for both work and pleasure craft.
The Thames skiff is a round-bottom clinker-built rowing boat that is still very common on the River Thames and other rivers in England. It features in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, the book about a journey up the Thames. During the year, skiffing regattas are held in various river-side towns in England—the major event being the Skiff Championships Regatta at Henley.
The term skiff is also used to refer to a type of high performance sailing dinghy, one that usually features an asymmetrical spinnaker and requires that the crew use a trapeze to help balance the boat. Examples include: Cherub Skiff, 12ft Skiff, International 14 (14ft skiff), 16ft Skiff, 18ft Skiff, 29er, 29erXX, 49er, and Musto Skiff.
Skiff and Marvell Announce E-Reader Development Kit at 2010 Consumer Electronics Show; Will Help Enable Next-Gen Reading Devices
Jan 20, 2010; Skiff, LLC and Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) announced the Skiff™ Reader Development Kit (RDK), which is designed to...