a small heavily armed and armored warship serving as a battleship because of limitations imposed by treaty.
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Origin of pocket battleship
First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for pocket battleship
a small heavily armoured and armed battle cruiser specially built to conform with treaty limitations on tonnage and armament, esp any of those built by Germany in the 1930s
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