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dinghy, any of various small boats. Rowboats or sailboats called dinghies are used to carry passengers or cargo along the coasts of India, especially in the sheltered waters around the peninsula. As a small ships boat in other countries, the dinghy may be a rowboat but more often is powered and has a pointed bow, transom stern, and round bottom. For racing, a boat called a dinghy is equipped with one or more sails, a rudder, and, sometimes, a centreboard. Small, inflatable life rafts are also called dinghies.