a warship of the old sailing class, having a flush deck and usually one tier of guns.
a lightly armed, fast ship used mostly for convoy escort and ranging in size between a destroyer and a gunboat.

Also cor·vet [kawr-vet, kawr-vet] /kɔrˈvɛt, ˈkɔr vɛt/.

Origin of corvette

1630–40; < French, Middle French < Middle Dutch corver pursuit boat (derivative of corf fishing boat, literally, basket), with suffix altered to -ette -ette Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for corvette

Contemporary Examples of corvette

Historical Examples of corvette

  • When my brother was here in the corvette, he found her for me.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • If you like you can return to Lisbon in the corvette; you will be there before us.'

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • The document was an order to take the acting command of the corvette.

    The Grateful Indian

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • He hoped to do something before the corvette had to return home.

    The Grateful Indian

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • The latter began firing as soon as her guns could reach the corvette.

    The Grateful Indian

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for corvette



a lightly armed escort warship

Word Origin for corvette

C17: from Old French, perhaps from Middle Dutch corf basket, small ship, from Latin corbis basket
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

Word Origin and History for corvette

1630s, also corvet, from French corvette "small, fast frigate" (15c.), perhaps from Middle Dutch korver "pursuit ship," or Middle Low German korf meaning both a kind of boat and a basket, or from Latin corbita (navis) "slow-sailing ship of burden, grain ship" from corbis "basket" (Gamillscheg is against this). The U.S. sports car was so named September 1952, after the warship, on a suggestion by Myron Scott, employee of Campbell-Ewald, Chevrolet's advertising agency. Italian corvetta, Spanish corbeta are French loan-words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper