fire ship



a vessel loaded with combustibles and explosives, ignited, and set adrift to destroy an enemy's ships or constructions.

Origin of fire ship

First recorded in 1580–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fire ship

Historical Examples of fire ship

  • It is a fire-ship,” cried Pepé, “with which they want to set fire to our island.

    Wood Rangers

    Mayne Reid

  • A vessel filled with combustibles, but rather for explosion than as a fire-ship.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • There could be no doubt that her intention must be to run aboard the Orpheus, and that she must be a fire-ship.

    Hurricane Hurry

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • The other fire-ship had been less calmly and skilfully managed.

    In Greek Waters

    G. A. Henty

  • He ran the enemy aboard to windward, lashed the fire-ship there, and fired the train.

    In Greek Waters

    G. A. Henty

British Dictionary definitions for fire ship

fire ship


a vessel loaded with explosives and used, esp formerly, as a bomb by igniting it and directing it to drift among an enemy's warships
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