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[frig-it] /ˈfrɪg ɪt/
a fast naval vessel of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, generally having a lofty ship rig and heavily armed on one or two decks.
any of various types of modern naval vessels ranging in size from a destroyer escort to a cruiser, frequently armed with guided missiles and used for aircraft carrier escort duty, shore bombardment, and miscellaneous combat functions.
Origin of frigate
1575-85; < Middle French frégate < Italian fregata, Sicilian fragata (> Spanish, Catalan, Pg); of obscure origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for frigate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • While in the hospital, the frigate made a cruise, leaving me ashore.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The vessel was built of teak, and had been a frigate in the Portuguese service.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The same morning, an English frigate and a sloop-of-war came in and anchored.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Our three chaps were Englishmen, and I make no doubt belonged to the frigate, as stated.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • This ship was a vessel of the size of a frigate, and carried twelve guns.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • But the frigate which had her in tow hove in stays, and got her round.

  • A special messenger was sent out from England with a frigate to ascertain his fate.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • The Avenger also tacked and kept close under the frigate's counter.

  • About noon the frigate rejoined him, when matters were fully explained.

British Dictionary definitions for frigate


a medium-sized square-rigged warship of the 18th and 19th centuries
  1. (Brit) a warship larger than a corvette and smaller than a destroyer
  2. (US) (formerly) a warship larger than a destroyer and smaller than a cruiser
  3. (US) a small escort vessel
Word Origin
C16: from French frégate, from Italian fregata, of unknown origin
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 frigate

1580s, from Middle French frégate (1520s), from Italian fregata (Neapolitan fregate), like many ship names, of unknown origin. Originally a small, swift vessel; the word was applied to progressively larger types over the years, but since 1943 it is used mainly of escort ships.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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