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[man-uh v-wawr] /ˈmæn əvˈwɔr/
noun, plural men-of-war.
a warship.
Origin of man-of-war
late Middle English
1400-50 in sense “soldier”; late Middle English Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for man-of-war
Historical Examples
  • The Americans exulted at the failure of the man-of-war's man, and the English doubted.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • It is, in short, the man-of-war that was in St. Blas when we left there.

    An Old Sailor's Yarns Nathaniel Ames
  • Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • Then all the guns were fakes, and the whole business of a man-of-war as well?

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • Carlos came to the side, and looked after the man-of-war in the distance.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • I suppose they had no man-of-war handy for the service in Cuba.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • He did not wish the country to appear "as a cock-boat in the wake of the British man-of-war."

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson
  • But man-of-war's men are scarcer, my friends, than hen's teeth!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • All their pennants were flying—the French man-of-war, and the northern ships.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Why, the man has never been out of Ireland except on a British man-of-war.

British Dictionary definitions for man-of-war


noun (pl) men-of-war, men o' war
a warship
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 man-of-war

late 14c., "a soldier," from man (n.) + war. Meaning "vessel equipped for warfare" is from late 15c. Man in the sense of "a ship" is attested from late 15c. in combinations (e.g. merchantman). The sea creature known as the Portuguese man-of-war (1707) is so called for its sail-like crest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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