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[gal-ee-uh n, gal-yuh n] /ˈgæl i ən, ˈgæl yən/
a large sailing vessel of the 15th to the 17th centuries used as a fighting or merchant ship, square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast and generally lateen-rigged on one or two after masts.
Origin of galleon
1520-30; < Spanish galeón, augmentative of galea galley Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for galleon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Saint George now sailed for the northward, and, to the great joy of the crew, espied the Manilla galleon.

    Notable Voyagers W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith
  • The guns will burst, and we can then do what we please with the galleon and the town.

    Two Gallant Sons of Devon Harry Collingwood
  • She is all burnt to a black coal, a great Spanish galleon, with all her guns in her.

    Jim Davis John Masefield
  • Here a galleon, a prize to the “Monmouth,” struck upon a sunken rock.

    John Deane of Nottingham W.H.G. Kingston
  • One of the three was lost; the remaining two captured the said galleon “Santa Ana,” and came to these islands.

British Dictionary definitions for galleon


(nautical) a large sailing ship having three or more masts, lateen-rigged on the after masts and square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast, used as a warship or trader from the 15th to the 18th centuries
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish galeón, from French galion, from Old French galiegalley
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 galleon

large ship, 1520s, from Old French galion "little ship" (13c.), from Spanish galeón "galleon, armed merchant ship," from Byzantine Greek galea "galley" (see galley) + augmentative suffix -on. In English use, especially of Spanish ships involved in the American trade.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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