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 squarerigged 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, etc., 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, etc. 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.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)