There are 2 definitions of shoal in English:

shoal1

Line breaks: shoal
Pronunciation: /ʃəʊl
 
/

noun

1A large number of fish swimming together: a shoal of bream Compare with school2.
More example sentences
  • All the same we took about thirty fish from the shoal before they became too cross with us to feed on.
  • Huge dense shoals of fish cover the forward quarter of the wreck.
  • Last year they found some big shoals of bream below Kings Lawn and really hammered them out.
1.1 informal , chiefly British A large number of people or things: shoals of people were coming up the drive
More example sentences
  • In the end I found a whole shoal of them in the sports section.
  • Before the current intifada began in 2000, shoals of tourists made it difficult to move in these lanes.
  • The popular take-away and restaurant in Chippenham has been short-listed for the area title of the contest, after shoals of nominations from its customers.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
(Of fish) form shoals: these fish can safely be released to shoal with most adult species
More example sentences
  • Those of the 57 entrants in Sunday's Tadcaster open not drawn in the bottom field struggled on a clear Wharfe at Smaws Ings as the fish shoaled up above the weir.
  • The Aire and Calder Canal at Pollington, near Selby, gets better in colder conditions with fish shoaling up tightly in the wides opposite the boats.
  • Whether it is to do with the exceptionally good weather, but there have been reports that so many fish are shoaling into Kinsale Harbour, the water is silver with scales.

Origin

late 16th century: probably from Middle Dutch schōle 'troop'. Compare with school2.

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Pronunciation: ˈsɛmbləns
noun
the outward appearance or apparent form of something…

There are 2 definitions of shoal in English:

shoal2

Line breaks: shoal
Pronunciation: /ʃəʊl
 
/

noun

1An area of shallow water: we clawed our way out from the Bahamian shoals into the deep waters of the Atlantic
More example sentences
  • Two of the four ships managed to escape while the two others sought shelter in a shallow area of the shoal.
  • The shallowest shoals in the area had been reported at 37 metres, and depths earlier the same day had been between 50 metres and 300 metres.
  • Soon we were speeding across the near-shore shoal, a shallow boneyard of rocks and coral heads.
1.1A submerged sandbank visible at low water.
More example sentences
  • Of course, an unintended consequence of these jetties was that they created offshore shoals and sandbars that tended to magnify the waves here.
  • These offer information about shifting shoals, sandbars and such that can be critical for boaters and productive for fishers.
  • Oregon's lighthouses were all but inaccessible when they were built in the 19th century, near shoals and sandbars, treacherous offshore rocks and reefs.
Synonyms
1.2 (usually shoals) A hidden danger or difficulty: he alone could safely guide them through Hollywood’s treacherous shoals
More example sentences
  • But with deficits rising and businesses anxious for new tax breaks, Congress will first have to navigate the treacherous shoals of domestic politics.
  • They have been doing so for years, of course, shrewdly navigating the political shoals.
  • The US is entering uncharted waters, which hide shoals that could cause its economy to sink into a recession and with it stocks and shares plummeting into the deep.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
(Of water) become shallower: the water shoals reasonably gently, and the swimming is safe
More example sentences
  • Such vertical facies changes indicate that water depth generally shoaled as sediment supply exceeded the formation of accommodation space, probably as global sea level fell.
  • Endurance subsequently completed a detailed investigation, which revealed that the seabed shoaled without warning and incredibly steeply from more than 40 metres to 6.4 metres in eight seconds.

adjective

dialect or North American Back to top  
(Of water) shallow: crabs will move to shoaler water when the current changes
More example sentences
  • The ship deployed her mooring legs in a precision anchoring evolution less than 1,200 yards from shoal water.
  • They are great fun to sail and perfectly suited for cruising in out-of-the-way places and shoal waters.
  • One of the extras listed was a shoal draught keel.

Origin

Old English sceald (adjective), of Germanic origin; related to shallow.

Derivatives

shoaly

adjective
More example sentences
  • The shoaly, azure, clear ocean and the white beach may remind you of an island in the South Seas.
  • Past the pool, the river becomes shoaly again as it prepares for the largest rapid on this section, Zoar Gap.
  • The river being nearly two miles wide and very shoaly, they thought a trestle bridge could be made to stand.

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