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fleet3

[fleet] /flit/
noun, British Dialect
1.
an arm of the sea; inlet.
2.
a creek; stream; watercourse.
3.
the Fleet, a former prison in London, long used for debtors.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English flete, Old English flēot flowing water; cognate with German Fliess brook; (def 3) after the Fleet a stream, later covered and used as a sewer, near which the prison was located
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for the fleet

fleet1

/fliːt/
noun
1.
a number of warships organized as a tactical unit
2.
all the warships of a nation
3.
a number of aircraft, ships, buses, etc, operating together or under the same ownership
Word Origin
Old English flēot ship, flowing water, from flēotan to float

fleet2

/fliːt/
adjective
1.
rapid in movement; swift
2.
(poetic) fleeting; transient
verb
3.
(intransitive) to move rapidly
4.
(intransitive) (archaic) to fade away smoothly; glide
5.
(transitive) (nautical)
  1. to change the position of (a hawser)
  2. to pass (a messenger or lead) to a hawser from a winch for hauling in
  3. to spread apart (the blocks of a tackle)
6.
(intransitive) (obsolete) to float or swim
7.
(transitive) (obsolete) to cause (time) to pass rapidly
Derived Forms
fleetly, adverb
fleetness, noun
Word Origin
probably Old English flēotan to float, glide rapidly; related to Old High German fliozzan to flow, Latin pluere to rain

fleet3

/fliːt/
noun
1.
(mainly Southeast English) a small coastal inlet; creek
Word Origin
Old English flēot flowing water; see fleet1

Fleet

/fliːt/
noun the Fleet
1.
a stream that formerly ran into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street and is now a covered sewer
2.
Also called Fleet Prison. (formerly) a London prison, esp used for holding debtors
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for the fleet

fleet

n.

Old English fleot "ship, raft, floating vessel," from fleotan "to float" (see fleet (v.)). Sense of "naval force" is pre-1200. The Old English word also meant "creek, inlet, flow of water," especially one into the Thames near Ludgate Hill, which lent its name to Fleet Street (home of newspaper and magazine houses, standing for "the English press" since 1882), Fleet prison, etc.

adj.

"swift," 1520s, but probably older than the record; apparently from or cognate with Old Norse fliotr "swift," and from the root of fleet (v.)). Related: Fleetness.

v.

Old English fleotan "to float, drift, flow, swim, sail," later (c.1200) "to flow," from Proto-Germanic *fleut- (cf. Old Frisian fliata, Old Saxon fliotan "to flow," Old High German fliozzan "to float, flow," German flieszen "to flow," Old Norse fliota "to float, flow"), from PIE root *pleu- "to flow, run, swim" (see pluvial).

Meaning "to glide away like a stream, vanish imperceptibly" is from c.1200; hence "to fade, to vanish" (1570s). Related: Fleeted; fleeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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