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[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
  • It is a fine night for a regatta, and I will stand you a pound on Mr. Handlead's heels.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • And yet you got two hundred and thirty for a regatta in June last!

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • I asked him why he never entered the Halcyone for the Galway regatta.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • The Shepards were a family we first met at a regatta in Portland Harbor.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • It is a regatta, a free-for-all, devil-take-the-hindmost affair.

    East of Suez Frederic Courtland Penfield
  • It was the first regatta of the kind, and doubtless it will be the last.

  • No boat-race or regatta ever began at the time appointed for the start.

    A Mortal Antipathy Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • This was the race of the regatta, and excited much interest.

    Kathay: A Cruise in the China Seas W. Hastings Macaulay
  • This was the day appointed for the first regatta of the Yacht Club.

    The Yacht Club Oliver Optic
  • Given by the regatta committee for the benefit of the Life-boat, sir.

    You Never Can Tell George Bernard Shaw
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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