- a small, armed warship of light draft, used in ports where the water is shallow.
- any small ship carrying mounted guns.
Origin of gunboat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for gunboats
But now the hearts of the soldiers were cheered with the news that the gunboats were coming.Winning His Way
Charles Carleton Coffin
Those your gunboats poke her nose and shove her oar in every place.Soldiers Three, Part II.
The Cumberland answered, and the Congress, and their gunboats and shore batteries.
The head of his column was set for the James, for Harrison's Landing and the gunboats.
He saw four gunboats on the river; they were throwing the long, howling shells.
- a small shallow-draft vessel carrying mounted guns and used by coastal patrols, etc
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 gunboats
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper