Scull vs. Skull

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Scull and skull are two words that may be quite confusing. Though they are pronounced in the same way, these two words are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the definitions of the words scull and skull, where these two words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A scull is an oar with a flat blade that is used to propel a boat. Sculls may be used singly or in pairs. Scull may be used as a noun or a verb, to mean the act of using sculls to propel a boat through the water. Related words are sculls, sculled, sculling. There are several Olympic categories of sculling, including men’s and women’s, lightweight, single, double and quadruple. The origin of the word scull is unclear, though it has been around since the mid-1300s.

A skull is the bone that makes up the head of the skeleton, it encompasses the brain and provides the framework for the face. Infrequently, the word skull is used as a verb to mean to hit someone in the head. Related words are skulls, skulled, skulling. The word skull is derived from the Middle English word skolle, which in turn is probably a form of the Old Norse word skalli, which means a bald head.


Arms transferred the body weight to the sculls and the boat moved as the body moved back and forth. (The Daily Sabah)

The Ithaca College sculling team opened its season Sept. 25 at the Cayuga Sculling Sprints on the Cayuga Inlet. (The Ithacan)

Until a few weeks ago this skull was to appear at the next Theodore Bruce sale of Aboriginal, Oceanic and Tribal Art on July 10. (The Sydney Morning Herald)