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[frig-it] /ˈfrɪg ɪt/
a fast naval vessel of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, generally having a lofty ship rig and heavily armed on one or two decks.
any of various types of modern naval vessels ranging in size from a destroyer escort to a cruiser, frequently armed with guided missiles and used for aircraft carrier escort duty, shore bombardment, and miscellaneous combat functions.
Origin of frigate
1575-85; < Middle French frégate < Italian fregata, Sicilian fragata (> Spanish, Catalan, Pg); of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for frigate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are here, aboard the frigate which brought me, your highness.

  • Our three chaps were Englishmen, and I make no doubt belonged to the frigate, as stated.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The approach of the frigate was anxiously watched from the decks of the prizes.

    With Moore at Corunna G. A. Henty
  • While in the hospital, the frigate made a cruise, leaving me ashore.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • But a gale carried away the "Leo's" foremast, and she fell a prey to an English frigate which happened along untimely.

  • This ship was a vessel of the size of a frigate, and carried twelve guns.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • And they were coming back to try for them when the frigate came in sight!

    Devon Boys George Manville Fenn
  • But the frigate which had her in tow hove in stays, and got her round.

  • Much as I wished to see London, my curiosity gave way to what I considered the necessity of my immediate return to the frigate.

    Percival Keene Frederick Marryat
British Dictionary definitions for frigate


a medium-sized square-rigged warship of the 18th and 19th centuries
  1. (Brit) a warship larger than a corvette and smaller than a destroyer
  2. (US) (formerly) a warship larger than a destroyer and smaller than a cruiser
  3. (US) a small escort vessel
Word Origin
C16: from French frégate, from Italian fregata, of unknown origin
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 frigate

1580s, from Middle French frégate (1520s), from Italian fregata (Neapolitan fregate), like many ship names, of unknown origin. Originally a small, swift vessel; the word was applied to progressively larger types over the years, but since 1943 it is used mainly of escort ships.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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