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fire ship

a vessel loaded with combustibles and explosives, ignited, and set adrift to destroy an enemy's ships or constructions.
Origin of fire ship
1580-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fire-ship
Historical Examples
  • While they were endeavouring to get up the harbour, a fire-ship was seen descending directly for the “Torbay.”

    John Deane of Nottingham W.H.G. Kingston
  • A vessel filled with combustibles, but rather for explosion than as a fire-ship.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • On the other hand, the ships of his own division do not lose sight of the fire-ship.

  • There could be no doubt that her intention must be to run aboard the Orpheus, and that she must be a fire-ship.

    Hurricane Hurry W.H.G. Kingston
  • The first thing I said, as soon as I could speak, was “Damn that fire-ship, and the lubber that set her on fire.”

    Frank Mildmay Captain Frederick Marryat
  • The other fire-ship had been less calmly and skilfully managed.

    In Greek Waters G. A. Henty
  • The command was given to officers not noble, with the grade of captain of fire-ship.

  • He ran the enemy aboard to windward, lashed the fire-ship there, and fired the train.

    In Greek Waters G. A. Henty
  • One of his sons, an intrepid spirit, was killed by the explosion of a fire-ship before Tripoli, in which he was a volunteer.

  • The next two days Mitsos spent in learning the working of the fire-ship.

    The Vintage Edward Frederic Benson
British Dictionary definitions for fire-ship

fire ship

a vessel loaded with explosives and used, esp formerly, as a bomb by igniting it and directing it to drift among an enemy's warships
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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