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ship of the line

a former sailing warship armed powerfully enough to serve in the line of battle, usually having cannons ranged along two or more decks; battleship.
Origin of ship of the line
1700-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ship-of-the-line
Historical Examples
  • "Elephant," British ship-of-the-line,Nelson's flagship at Copenhagen, ii.

    The Life of Nelson, Vol. I (of 2) A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan
  • Saumarez preferred the ship-of-the-line, Pellew the frigate.

  • One ship-of-the-line was of course thought equivalent to two or three floating batteries, if opposed to them in an interval.

    The Life of Nelson, Vol. II. (of 2) A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan
  • This, if I mistake not, was the size of a ship-of-the-line in the navy of Liliput.

  • There fell an evil calm like this come two year ago when I was wrecked in a ship-of-the-line within sight of Havana.

    Blackbeard: Buccaneer Ralph D. Paine
  • By three o'clock she had come near enough for Biddle to make out that she was a ship-of-the-line.

  • "Redoutable," French ship-of-the-line,Nelson mortally wounded by a shot from, ii.

    The Life of Nelson, Vol. I (of 2) A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan
  • Not even the subsequent capture of both vessels by a British ship-of-the-line could dim the glory of this victory.

    Union and Democracy Allen Johnson
  • The game was up with the Wasp and her prize, for the new ship was the Poictiers, a great seventy-four ship-of-the-line.

  • In that day, even a French ship-of-the-line was no model of discipline or order, and a letter-of-marque was consequently worse.

    Afloat And Ashore James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for ship-of-the-line

ship of the line

(nautical) (formerly) a warship large enough to fight in the first line of battle
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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