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[bat-l-ship] /ˈbæt lˌʃɪp/
any of a class of warships that are the most heavily armored and are equipped with the most powerful armament.
1785-95, Americanism; battle1 + ship1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for battleships
  • battleships were larger, better armed, and better armored than cruisers and destroyers.
  • The introduction of steam accelerated the growth in size of battleships.
  • However, clashes between battleships were of little strategic importance.
  • The three old german battleships , , and hessen all met similar ends.
  • The presence of battleships had a great psychological and diplomatic impact.
British Dictionary definitions for battleships


a heavily armoured warship of the largest type having many large-calibre guns
(formerly) a warship of sufficient size and armament to take her place in the line of battle; ship of the line
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for battleships



1794, shortened from line-of-battle ship (1705), one large enough to take part in a main attack (formerly one of 74-plus guns); from battle (n.) + ship (n.). Later in U.S. Navy in reference to a class of ships that carried guns of the largest size. The last was decommissioned in 2006. Battleship-gray as a color is attested from 1916. Fighter and bomber airplanes in World War I newspaper articles were sometimes called battleplanes, but it did not catch on.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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