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[ney-vee] /ˈneɪ vi/
noun, plural navies.
the whole body of warships and auxiliaries belonging to a country or ruler.
(often initial capital letter) the complete body of such warships together with their officers and enlisted personnel, equipment, yards, etc., constituting the sea power of a nation.
(often initial capital letter) the department of government charged with its management.
Archaic. a fleet of ships.
Origin of navy
1300-50; Middle English navie < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *navia, equivalent to Latin nāv(is) ship + -ia -y3
Related forms
pronavy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for navies
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No longer does it live, but neither do the men, the ships, the navies that lately sailed upon the bosom of the waters.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet, part 2 Gustave Flaubert
  • The latter is the form used in the American and British navies.

  • My collection of battle flags of the world's navies was the most complete in existence until last year.

  • Armies and navies will be absolutely powerless to advance against it.

    The Mystery of the Green Ray William Le Queux
  • All the navies of Europe could anchor comfortably in the "great port" to the east of the town.

    History of Phoenicia George Rawlinson
  • She equips the navies of the world with projectiles and range-finders.

    A Short History of Pittsburgh Samuel Harden Church
  • Nor can I picture its magnificent harbour, large enough to hold all the navies in the world.

    Manco, the Peruvian Chief W.H.G. Kingston
  • Seaton, with half this stuff, could whip the combined armies and navies of the world.

    Skylark Three Edward Elmer Smith
British Dictionary definitions for navies


noun (pl) -vies
the warships and auxiliary vessels of a nation or ruler
(often capital) the navy, the branch of a country's armed services comprising such ships, their crews, and all their supporting services and equipment
short for navy blue
(archaic or literary) a fleet of ships
(as modifier): a navy custom
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Vulgar Latin nāvia (unattested) ship, from Latin nāvis ship
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 navies



early 14c., "fleet of ships, especially for purposes of war," from Old French navie "fleet, ship," from Latin navigia, plural of navigium "vessel, boat," from navis "ship" (see naval). Meaning "a nation's collective, organized sea power" is from 1530s. The Old English words were sciphere (usually of Viking invaders) and scipfierd (usually of the home defenses). Navy blue was the color of the British naval uniform. Navy bean attested from 1856, so called because they were grown to be used by the Navy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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