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man-of-war

[man-uh v-wawr] /ˈmæn əvˈwɔr/
noun, plural men-of-war.
1.
a warship.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50 in sense “soldier”; late Middle English
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for man of war

man-of-war

noun (pl) men-of-war, men o' war
1.
a warship
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 man of war

man-of-war

n.

late 14c., "a soldier," from man (n.) + war. Meaning "vessel equipped for warfare" is from late 15c. Man in the sense of "a ship" is attested from late 15c. in combinations (e.g. merchantman). The sea creature known as the Portuguese man-of-war (1707) is so called for its sail-like crest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for man of war

man-of-war

the chief instrument by which a nation extends its military power onto the seas. Warships protect the movement over water of military forces to coastal areas where they may be landed and used against enemy forces; warships protect merchant shipping against enemy attack; they prevent the enemy from using the sea to transport military forces; and they attack the enemy's merchant shipping. Naval ships are also used in blockade-i.e., in attempts to prevent an enemy from importing by sea the commodities necessary for prosecution of the war. In order to accomplish these objectives, naval ships have been designed from earliest times to be faster and sturdier than merchant ships and to be capable of carrying offensive weapons

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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