fleet

1 [fleet]
noun
1.
the largest organized unit of naval ships grouped for tactical or other purposes.
2.
the largest organization of warships under the command of a single officer.
3.
a number of naval vessels or vessels carrying armed crew members.
4.
a large group of ships, airplanes, trucks, etc., operated by a single company or under the same ownership: He owns a fleet of cabs.
5.
a large group of airplanes, automobiles, etc., moving or operating together.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English flete, Old English flēot, derivative of flēotan to float; see fleet2

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fleet

2 [fleet]
adjective, fleeter, fleetest.
1.
swift; rapid: to be fleet of foot; a fleet horse.
verb (used without object)
2.
to move swiftly; fly.
3.
Nautical. to change position; shift.
4.
Archaic.
a.
to glide along like a stream.
b.
to fade; vanish.
5.
Obsolete. to float; drift; swim.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause (time) to pass lightly or swiftly.
7.
Nautical.
a.
to move or change the position of.
b.
to separate the blocks of (a tackle).
c.
to lay (a rope) along a deck.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English fleten to be fleet, Old English flēotan to float; see float

fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun


6. speed, hasten; beguile.

fleet

3 [fleet]
noun British Dialect.
1.
an arm of the sea; inlet.
2.
a creek; stream; watercourse.
3.
the Fleet, a former prison in London, long used for debtors.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English flete, Old English flēot flowing water; cognate with German Fliess brook; (def 3) after the Fleet a stream, later covered and used as a sewer, near which the prison was located

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fleet1 (fliːt)
 
n
1.  a number of warships organized as a tactical unit
2.  all the warships of a nation
3.  a number of aircraft, ships, buses, etc, operating together or under the same ownership
 
[Old English flēot ship, flowing water, from flēotan to float]

fleet2 (fliːt)
 
adj
1.  rapid in movement; swift
2.  poetic fleeting; transient
 
vb
3.  (intr) to move rapidly
4.  archaic (intr) to fade away smoothly; glide
5.  (tr) nautical
 a.  to change the position of (a hawser)
 b.  to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
 c.  to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
6.  obsolete (intr) to float or swim
7.  obsolete (tr) to cause (time) to pass rapidly
 
[probably Old English flēotan to float, glide rapidly; related to Old High German fliozzan to flow, Latin pluere to rain]
 
'fleetly2
 
adv
 
'fleetness2
 
n

fleet3 (fliːt)
 
n
chiefly (Southeast English) a small coastal inlet; creek
 
[Old English flēot flowing water; see fleet1]

Fleet (fliːt)
 
n
1.  a stream that formerly ran into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street and is now a covered sewer
2.  Also called: Fleet Prison (formerly) a London prison, esp used for holding debtors

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

fleet
O.E. fleot "ship, floating vessel," from fleotan "to float," from P.Gmc. *fleut-, from PIE base *pleu- "to flow, run, swim." Sense of "naval force" is pre-1200. The O.E. word also meant "creek, inlet, flow of water," especially one into the Thames near Ludgate Hill, which lent its name to Fleet Street
(home of newspaper and magazine houses, standing for "the English press" since 1882), Fleet prison, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
One way to think of this group is to imagine the economy as a fleet of pick-up trucks.
The mutiny of a flagship almost surely signals change for the fleet.
And the agency is not confident to order a fleet of these yet.
Imagine trying to get this big fleet into position in enough time to suck the
  life out of a storm.
Image for Fleet
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