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90s Slang You Should Know


[yoo-boht] /ˈyuˌboʊt/
a German submarine.
Origin of U-boat
1910-15; < German U-Boot, short for Unterseeboot literally, undersea boat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for u-boats
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But there was another and shorter route to this area available to the u-boats.

    The Victory At Sea William Sowden Sims
  • It was the belief that the destroyer had sunk one of the u-boats.

    In the Flash Ranging Service Edward Alva Trueblood
  • The u-boats, it is true, would have to travel further if they were to work in European waters.

    Walking Shadows Alfred Noyes
  • My own notion of it is that the u-boats have many of us bluffed.

    The U-boat hunters James B. Connolly
  • American citizens landed from vessels sunk by German submarines tell remarkable tales of the strenuous exploits of the u-boats.

  • It was all interesting—the life in Paris—but it had nothing to do with u-boats.

    The U-boat hunters James B. Connolly
  • "u-boats thick last night, sir, and the convoy must 'a' got orders to disperse or else change course," he said to the doctor.

    The U-boat hunters James B. Connolly
  • By this time the lurking u-boats had been dealt with in a most effective way.

    A Lively Bit of the Front Percy F. Westerman
  • The seamen are numbered in their tens of thousands, the u-boats in their tens.

British Dictionary definitions for u-boats


a German submarine, esp in World Wars I and II
Word Origin
from German U-Boot, abbreviation for Unterseeboot, literally: undersea boat
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 u-boats


1916 (said to have been in use from 1913), partial translation of German U-Boot, short for Unterseeboot, literally "undersea boat."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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u-boats in Culture

U-boats definition

German submarines during World War I and World War II. U-boat is a translation of the German U-boot, which is short for Unterseeboot, or “undersea boat.”

Note: Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat. Eventually, U-boat attacks on neutral ships drew the United States into the war.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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