1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schooner
SCHOONER, a vessel rigged with fore and aft sails, properly with two masts, but now often with three, four and sometimes more masts; they are much used in the coasting trade, and require a smaller crew in proportion to their size than square rigged vessels (see Rigging and Ship). According to the story, which is probably true, the name arose from a chance spectator’s exclamation “there she scoons,” i.e. glides, slips free, at the launch of the first vessel of this type at Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1713, her builder being one Andrew Robinson. The spelling “schooner” is due to a supposed derivation from the Dutch schooner, but that and the other European equivalents, Ger. Schoner, Dan. skonnert, Span. and Portuguese escuna, &c., are all from English. “ To scoon,” according to Skeat, is a Scottish (Clydesdale) dialect word, meaning to skip over water like a flat stone, and is ultimately connected with the root, implying quick motion, seen in shoot, scud, &c. In American colloquial usage “schooner” is applied to the covered prairie-wagons used by the emigrants moving westward before the construction of railways, and to a tall, narrow, lager-beer glass.