- See under admiral(def 6).
Origin of red admiral
- the commander in chief of a fleet.
- a naval officer of the highest rank.
- a naval officer of a high rank: the grades in the U.S. Navy are fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, and rear admiral.
- Obsolete. the flagship of an admiral.
- British. a master who directs a fishing fleet.
- any of several often brightly colored butterflies of the family Nymphalidae, as Vanessa atalanta (red admiral).
Origin of admiral
- the supreme commander of a fleet or navy
- Also called: admiral of the fleet, fleet admiral a naval officer of the highest rank, equivalent to general of the army or field marshal
- a senior naval officer entitled to fly his own flagSee also rear admiral, vice admiral
- mainly British the master of a fishing fleet
- any of various nymphalid butterflies, esp the red admiral or white admiral
- a nymphalid butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, of temperate Europe and Asia, having black wings with red and white markingsSee also white admiral
Word Origin and History for red admiral
c.1200, "Saracen commander," from Old French amirail (12c.) "Saracen military commander; any military commander," probably ultimately from Arabic title amir-ar-rahl "chief of the transport," officer in the Mediterranean fleet, from amir "leader;" influenced by Latin ad-mirabilis (see admire).
Italian form almiraglio, Spanish almirante are from confusion with Arabic words in al-. Meaning "highest-ranking naval officer" is from early 15c. As a type of butterfly, from 1720, possibly a corruption of admirable.