A schooner ər/ is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. The most common type has two masts, the foremast being shorter than the main. While the schooner was originally gaff-rigged, modern schooners typically carry a Bermuda rig.


Traditional square topsail schooner Shenandoah, sailing in Nantucket Sound.

The first detailed definition of a schooner, describing the vessel as two-masted vessel with fore and aft gaff-rigged sails appeared in 1769 in William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine.[1]

According to the language scholar Walter William Skeat, the term schooner comes from scoon, while the sch spelling comes from the later adoption of the Dutch spelling ("schoener"). Another study suggests that a Dutch expression praising ornate schooner yachts in the 17th century, "een schoone Schip", may have led to the term "schooner" being used by English speakers to describe the early versions of the schooner rig as it evolved in England and America.[2] The Dutch word "schoon(e)" means nice, clean, good looking, sexually arousing, or horny..

A popular legend holds that the first schooner was built by builder Andrew Robinson and launched in Gloucester, Massachusetts where a spectator exclaimed "Oh how she scoons", scoon being similar to scone,[3] a Scots word meaning to skip along the surface of the water.[4][5] Robinson replied, "A schooner let her be."[6] The launch is variously described as being in 1713 or 1745.[2] Naval architects such as Howard Chapelle have dismissed this invention story as a "childish fable",[7] but some language scholars feel that the legend may support a Gloucester origin of the word.[8]

Other sources state the etymology as unknown[9] and uncertain.[10]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Skoener
Alemannisch: Schoner
العربية: سكونة
asturianu: Goleta
azərbaycanca: Yelkən idmanı
беларуская: Шхуна
български: Шхуна
bosanski: Škuna
català: Goleta
čeština: Škuner
Cymraeg: Sgwner
dansk: Skonnert
Deutsch: Schoner
eesti: Kuunar
Ελληνικά: Ημιολία
español: Goleta
Esperanto: Skuno
euskara: Goleta
français: Goélette
Gaeilge: Scúnar
한국어: 스쿠너
hrvatski: Škuna
Ido: Skunero
íslenska: Skonnorta
italiano: Scuna
עברית: סקונר
lietuvių: Škuna
magyar: Szkúner
Bahasa Melayu: Skuner
Nederlands: Schoener
日本語: スクーナー
Nordfriisk: Skuuner
norsk: Skonnert
norsk nynorsk: Skonnert
occitan: Goleta
polski: Szkuner
português: Escuna
română: Goeletă
русский: Шхуна
slovenčina: Škuner
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Škuna
suomi: Kuunari
svenska: Skonert
Türkçe: Uskuna
українська: Шхуна