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[gal-ee] /ˈgæl i/
noun, plural galleys.
a kitchen or an area with kitchen facilities in a ship, plane, or camper.
  1. a seagoing vessel propelled mainly by oars, used in ancient and medieval times, sometimes with the aid of sails.
  2. a long rowboat, as one used as a ship's boat by a warship or one used for dragging a seine.
  3. (formerly, in the U.S. Navy) a shoal-draft vessel, variously rigged, relying mainly on its sails but able to be rowed by sweeps.
  1. a long, narrow tray, usually of metal, for holding type that has been set.
  2. galley proof.
  3. a rough unit of measurement, about 22 inches (56 cm), for type composition.
Origin of galley
1250-1300; Middle English galei(e) < Old French galee, galie, perhaps < Old Provençal galea < Late Greek galéa, galaía
Related forms
galleylike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for galley
  • Anyone who stands in the galley experiences immediate vertigo from the ship's constant lurching.
  • The ship groaned and buckled, and as it sank the icy seawater thundered through the galley.
  • Open galley kitchen, granite counter tops and new appliances.
  • The galley kitchen has tiled walls and open shelving, and a boxy range hood set over the gas stove.
  • The faint outlines of the modern galley kitchen are visible in its form: fixed counters and cupboards, sink and stove.
  • Despite this separation of powers, occasional arguments arose between the master of the ship and the master of the galley.
  • The hot corn that spills out is carried to the rear of the cramped galley kitchen, where it is mixed with caramel.
  • The galley kitchen and dining area are equipped with everything necessary to prepare, serve and eat home-cooked meals.
  • Its open floor plan has a galley kitchen and large windows to view the coastline.
  • The cabin, suitable for one or two guests, has an open floor plan with a galley kitchen and fireplace.
British Dictionary definitions for galley


any of various kinds of ship propelled by oars or sails used in ancient or medieval times as a warship or as a trader
the kitchen of a ship, boat, or aircraft
any of various long rowing boats
  1. (in hot-metal composition) a tray open at one end for holding composed type
  2. short for galley proof
Word Origin
C13: from Old French galie, from Medieval Latin galea, from Greek galaia, of unknown origin; the sense development apparently is due to the association of a galley or slave ship with a ship's kitchen and hence with a hot furnace, trough, printer's tray, etc
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 galley

c.1300, from Old French galie, from Medieval Latin galea or Catalan galea, from Late Greek galea, of unknown origin. The word has made its way into most Western European languages. Originally "low, flat-built seagoing vessel of one deck," once common in the Mediterranean; meaning "cooking range on a ship" dates from 1750. The printing sense is from 1650s, from French galée in the same sense, in reference to the shape of the oblong tray that holds the type. As a short form of galley-proof it is attested from 1890.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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