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See more synonyms for gunboat on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small, armed warship of light draft, used in ports where the water is shallow.
  2. any small ship carrying mounted guns.
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Origin of gunboat

First recorded in 1770–80; gun1 + boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for gunboat

bucket, jar, bottle, package, canister, frigate, destroyer, corvette, battleship, submarine, gunboat, cutter, vessel, receptacle, cannikin, aluminum, tin, dreadnaught, cruiser, dreadnought

Examples from the Web for gunboat

Historical Examples of gunboat

  • Their gunboat Marmaris was sunk, and the transport Masul captured.

    The Story of the Great War, Volume III (of VIII)


  • She witnessed the first embarkation in a gunboat at Sheerness.

    The Last Voyage

    Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

  • It was a swordfish and he resembled a gunboat with purple outriggers.

  • The 'Langford' knocked out the gunboat 'Smith' in three rounds.

  • At a signal from the brig, made by waving a flag on the forecastle, the gunboat was stopped.

British Dictionary definitions for gunboat


  1. a small shallow-draft vessel carrying mounted guns and used by coastal patrols, etc
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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 gunboat

1793, from gun + boat. Gunboat diplomacy is from 1916, originally with reference to Western policies in China.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper