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gunboat

[guhn-boht]
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noun
  1. a small, armed warship of light draft, used in ports where the water is shallow.
  2. any small ship carrying mounted guns.

Origin of gunboat

First recorded in 1770–80; gun1 + boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gunboats

Historical Examples

  • But now the hearts of the soldiers were cheered with the news that the gunboats were coming.

    Winning His Way

    Charles Carleton Coffin

  • Those your gunboats poke her nose and shove her oar in every place.

  • The Cumberland answered, and the Congress, and their gunboats and shore batteries.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • The head of his column was set for the James, for Harrison's Landing and the gunboats.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • He saw four gunboats on the river; they were throwing the long, howling shells.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston


British Dictionary definitions for gunboats

gunboat

noun
  1. a small shallow-draft vessel carrying mounted guns and used by coastal patrols, etc
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

Word Origin and History for gunboats

gunboat

1793, from gun + boat. Gunboat diplomacy is from 1916, originally with reference to Western policies in China.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper