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90s Slang You Should Know


[ri-gat-uh, -gah-tuh] /rɪˈgæt ə, -ˈgɑ tə/
a boat race, as of rowboats, yachts, or other vessels.
an organized series of such races.
(originally) a gondola race in Venice.
a strong, striped cotton fabric that is of twill weave.
Origin of regatta
1645-55; < Upper Italian (Venetian) regatta, regata, perhaps ≪ Vulgar Latin *recaptāre to contend, equivalent to *re- re- + *captāre to try to seize; see catch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for regatta
Historical Examples
  • There also was the regatta (I am not sure if it continues)—a great spectacle that could not be surpassed by any in Europe.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • It is a regatta, a free-for-all, devil-take-the-hindmost affair.

    East of Suez Frederic Courtland Penfield
  • I myself was bitten once by the regatta Bacteria, and very painful it was.

  • It was the first regatta of the kind, and doubtless it will be the last.

  • The cottage belonged to the victor in the regatta, who himself conducted the visitor to his dwelling.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • No boat-race or regatta ever began at the time appointed for the start.

    A Mortal Antipathy Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Thus when the regatta day came there was a vast concourse of people to witness the contest.

    Cornish Characters S. Baring-Gould
  • This was the race of the regatta, and excited much interest.

    Kathay: A Cruise in the China Seas W. Hastings Macaulay
  • But the regatta on this occasion was by no means interesting, for the wind fell into calm, and it was merely a drifting match.

  • This was the day appointed for the first regatta of the Yacht Club.

    The Yacht Club Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for regatta


an organized series of races of yachts, rowing boats, etc
Word Origin
C17: from obsolete Italian (Venetian dialect) rigatta contest, of obscure 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 regatta

1650s, name of a boat race among gondoliers held on the Grand Canal in Venice, from Italian (Venetian dialect) regatta, literally "contention for mastery," from rigattare "to compete, haggle, sell at retail." [Klein's sources, however, suggest a source in Italian riga "row, rank," from a Germanic source and related to English row (v.).] The general meaning of "boat race, yacht race" is usually considered to have begun with a race on the Thames by that name June 23, 1775 (cf. OED), but there is evidence that it was used as early as 1768.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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