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fleet1

[fleet] /flit/
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 of fleet1
1000
before 1000; Middle English flete, Old English flēot, derivative of flēotan to float; see fleet2

fleet2

[fleet] /flit/
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.
  1. to glide along like a stream.
  2. to fade; vanish.
5.
Obsolete. to float; drift; swim.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause (time) to pass lightly or swiftly.
7.
Nautical.
  1. to move or change the position of.
  2. to separate the blocks of (a tackle).
  3. to lay (a rope) along a deck.
Origin
before 900; Middle English fleten to be fleet, Old English flēotan to float; see float
Related forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Synonyms
6. speed, hasten; beguile.

fleet3

[fleet] /flit/
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fleet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Timmendiquas would keep them to it, and he might also be holding back the fleet.

    The Riflemen of the Ohio Joseph A. Altsheler
  • They were distributed among the captains of the fleet for transportation to Athens.

  • Johnson was probably in every tavern and coffee-house in fleet Street.

    The Town Leigh Hunt
  • That's what you'd become if you were to stay in fleet Street.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • So they said I was in contempt, and they took and put me into the fleet.

    Recollections of a Policeman William Russell (aka Thomas Waters)
British Dictionary definitions for fleet

fleet1

/fliːt/
noun
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
Word Origin
Old English flēot ship, flowing water, from flēotan to float

fleet2

/fliːt/
adjective
1.
rapid in movement; swift
2.
(poetic) fleeting; transient
verb
3.
(intransitive) to move rapidly
4.
(intransitive) (archaic) to fade away smoothly; glide
5.
(transitive) (nautical)
  1. to change the position of (a hawser)
  2. to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
  3. to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
6.
(intransitive) (obsolete) to float or swim
7.
(transitive) (obsolete) to cause (time) to pass rapidly
Derived Forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Word Origin
probably Old English flēotan to float, glide rapidly; related to Old High German fliozzan to flow, Latin pluere to rain

fleet3

/fliːt/
noun
1.
(mainly Southeast English) a small coastal inlet; creek
Word Origin
Old English flēot flowing water; see fleet1

Fleet

/fliːt/
noun the Fleet
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 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 fleet
n.

Old English fleot "ship, raft, floating vessel," from fleotan "to float" (see fleet (v.)). Sense of "naval force" is pre-1200. The Old English 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.

adj.

"swift," 1520s, but probably older than the record; apparently from or cognate with Old Norse fliotr "swift," and from the root of fleet (v.)). Related: Fleetness.

v.

Old English fleotan "to float, drift, flow, swim, sail," later (c.1200) "to flow," from Proto-Germanic *fleut- (cf. Old Frisian fliata, Old Saxon fliotan "to flow," Old High German fliozzan "to float, flow," German flieszen "to flow," Old Norse fliota "to float, flow"), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, run, swim" (see pluvial).

Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c.1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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