• synonyms


[mid-ship-muh n, mid-ship-]
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noun, plural mid·ship·men.
  1. a student, as at the U.S. Naval Academy, in training for commission as ensign in the Navy or second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.Compare cadet(def 2).
  2. British Navy.
    1. an officer of the rank held by young men immediately upon graduating from the government naval schools.
    2. (initial capital letter)the title and rank of such a graduate.
    3. (formerly) one of a class of boys or young men who formed the group from which officers were chosen.
  3. Also called singingfish. any toadfish of the genus Porichthys, having many small luminous organs on the underside and producing a buzzing sound with its air bladder.
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Origin of midshipman

First recorded in 1620–30; midship + -man
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

youth, student, recruit, junior, plebe, midshipman, gob, sailor, mate, skipper, seafarer, navigator, salt, pilot, tar, middy, beachcomber, merman, cockswain, jacky

Examples from the Web for midshipman

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They made him a midshipman; but, disliking the sea, he was determined to go to America.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • He served six years as midshipman in the navy, and did not like it.

  • Mr. Janverin, midshipman of the Tigre, and eleven men were wounded.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • "You are taking late to the sea," the midshipman who had not yet spoken remarked.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

  • On the third morning he put on his midshipman's clothes for the first time.

    At Aboukir and Acre

    George Alfred Henty

British Dictionary definitions for midshipman


noun plural -men
  1. a probationary rank held by young naval officers under training, or an officer holding such a rank
  2. any of several American toadfishes of the genus Porichthys, having small light-producing organs on the undersurface of their bodies
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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 midshipman


c.1600, so called because he was stationed amidships when on duty (see amid).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper