A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Oar (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1381

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1381

Oar. n.s. [are, Saxon; perhaps by allusion to the common expression of plowing the water, from the same root with ear, to plow, aro, Lat.] A long pole with a broad end, by which vessels are driven in the water, the resistance made by water to the oar pushing on the vessel.

              Th' oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat, to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes.
Shakesp. Jul. Cæsar.

So tow'rds a ship the oar-finn'd gallies ply,
Which wanting sea to ride, or wind to fly,
Stand but to fall reveng'd.
Denham's Poems.

In shipping such as this, the Irish kern
And untaught Indian, on the stream did glide,
E'er sharp-keel'd boats to stem the flood did learn,
Or fin-like oars did spread from either side.
Dryden.

Its progressive motion may be effected by the help of several oars, which in the outward ends of them shall be like the fins of a fish to contract and dilate. Wilkins.

Sources: Denham, John (75) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Wilkins, John (32)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Oar (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 10, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3459.


  1. The quote attributed to Julius Cæsar is actually from Antony and Cleopatra.

  2. Brandi on August 10th, 2013 at 10:19 am

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