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[man-uh v-wawr] /ˈmæn əvˈwɔr/
noun, plural men-of-war.
a warship.
Origin of man-of-war
late Middle English
1400-50 in sense “soldier”; late Middle English Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for man-of-war
Historical Examples
  • The French man-of-war Zelle transported them to p218 Raiatea, and the two officials landed under the white flag of truce.

  • Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • He knew all the tricks of sailors, and especially of man-of-war's men.

    Dikes and Ditches Oliver Optic
  • Carlos came to the side, and looked after the man-of-war in the distance.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • It was a man-of-war in full sail, looming up like a mountain.

    Within the Capes Howard Pyle
  • I suppose they had no man-of-war handy for the service in Cuba.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Harry then got into his boat and pulled on board the man-of-war, where the first lieutenant very kindly allowed him to see me.

    A Modern Buccaneer Rolf Boldrewood
  • But man-of-war's men are scarcer, my friends, than hen's teeth!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • At the same time it revealed to those on board the dhow that they were being chased by the boat of a man-of-war.

    Black Ivory R.M. Ballantyne
  • Why, the man has never been out of Ireland except on a British man-of-war.

British Dictionary definitions for man-of-war


noun (pl) men-of-war, men o' war
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

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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