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ship of state

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noun
  1. a nation or its affairs likened to a ship under sail.
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Origin of ship of state

First recorded in 1665–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Idioms and Phrases with ship of state

ship of state

The nation, as in We can't help but wonder who will be steering our ship of state a hundred years from now. This metaphoric expression was first recorded in English in a translation of Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1675).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.