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any small skiff, widely used in the Orient, that is propelled by oars or a scull
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a general name for various types of flat-bottomed wooden boats used in the coastal regions and on the rivers of East and Southeast Asia mainly for transporting passengers and freight. Sampans are up to 9 m long, and 3 m wide and have a load capacity of up to 80 tons. They are propelled by one or two stern oars or by a straight sail made of mats. An awning or cabinlike structure made of mats is sometimes located astern or amidships; it may serve as a dwelling, store, or workshop.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Murray ordered a burst of machine-gun fire across its bows; the sampan stopped, and three Indonesian soldiers were arrested.
Passing through villages which seemed to have forgotten time, a local boat took us up the Thu Bon River and I marvelled at local fishermen manoeuvring their tiny sampans against the tide while still tending their nets.
working harbor, on freighters and scows, cement barges, sampans, ferries
Th e prize includes a dinner at the excellent oriental restaurant, Sampans, and full use of the leisure facilities.
On the menu After glancing at the dishes on the menu of Sampans restaurant, we immediately booked a table.
But it seems as if her mother, described in one document as Jenny One, has provided sampans, sand and changed money for the Royal Navy round about the time of the First World War.
Her pace never slowed, and her toll came to include an aircraft carrier as well as escort vessels, freighters, and even the Asian rowboats known as sampans. By the end of the war, Spadefish rated sixth in terms of total ships sunk, and fifth in terms of total tonnage.
The boats' engines were so noisy that when the wind was right they could be heard coming from three miles away, and, perhaps for that reason, had enormous trouble running down junks and sampans infiltrating weapons to the enemy.
The floating market was still the center of commerce, where boats and sampans gathered to sell their fish, vegetables, and fruit.
Several museums are devoted to ships and seafaring - including whole quaysides bobbing with vessels from around the world - Indonesian painted sampans, reed rafts from the Andes, even an early ironclad battleship.