[lawng-ship, long-]


a medieval ship used in northern Europe especially by the Norse, having a long, narrow, open hull, a single square sail, and a large number of oars, which provided most of the propulsion.

Origin of longship

First recorded in 1560–70; long1 + ship1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for longship

Historical Examples of longship

  • The boat wallowed, but rode the waves better than the longship.

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

  • He is said to have left the city and to have taken up his abode on his longship.

    Canute the Great

    Laurence Marcellus Larson

  • There seemed every chance that we should be upon the longship before they knew what we were about, for we had the weather gauge.

    Havelok The Dane

    Charles Whistler

  • Now the longship held on her course steadily, never shifting her helm for so much as a point.

    Havelok The Dane

    Charles Whistler

  • The Longship's lighthouse stood up, a grey shadow in a grey scene.

British Dictionary definitions for longship



a narrow open vessel with oars and a square sail, used esp by the Vikings during medieval times
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 longship

Old English langscip "man of war;" see long (adj.) + ship (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper