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[hahrd-tak] /ˈhɑrdˌtæk/
a hard, saltless biscuit, formerly much used aboard ships and for army rations.
Also called pilot biscuit, pilot bread, ship biscuit, ship bread.
Origin of hardtack
First recorded in 1830-40; hard + tack2

ship biscuit

[ship bis-kit] /ˈʃɪp ˌbɪs kɪt/
Sometimes, ship bread.
First recorded in 1790-1800 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ship-bread
Historical Examples
  • Winthrop gives us the memorandum of his order for the ship-bread for his voyage in 1630.

  • They were short of provisions, and we gave them a barrel of ship-bread, and seventy pounds of beef.

  • Hard-bread or ship-bread is a kind of hard biscuit commonly baked in large cakes and much used by sailors and soldiers.

    Canoeing in the wilderness Henry David Thoreau
  • The ham on the table was of excellent quality, and the two mates ate heartily of it, with the ship-bread.

    A Victorious Union Oliver Optic
  • He also kneads up the bread, or "soft-tack," as it is called in contradistinction to the ship-bread, which is called "hard-tack."

    Round Cape Horn Joseph Lamson
British Dictionary definitions for ship-bread


a kind of hard saltless biscuit, formerly eaten esp by sailors as a staple aboard ship Also called pilot biscuit, ship's biscuit, sea biscuit
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 ship-bread



1836, "ship's biscuit," from hard (adj.) + tack (n.3); soft-tack was soft wheaten bread.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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