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red admiral

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noun
  1. See under admiral(def 6).
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Origin of red admiral

First recorded in 1830–40

admiral

[ad-mer-uh l]
noun
  1. the commander in chief of a fleet.
  2. a naval officer of the highest rank.
  3. a naval officer of a high rank: the grades in the U.S. Navy are fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, and rear admiral.
  4. Obsolete. the flagship of an admiral.
  5. British. a master who directs a fishing fleet.
  6. any of several often brightly colored butterflies of the family Nymphalidae, as Vanessa atalanta (red admiral).
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Origin of admiral

1175–1225; Middle English, variant of amiral < Old French < Arabic amīr al commander of the; -d- < Medieval Latin admīrābilis mundī for Arabic amīr al-mu'minīn commander of the faithful; or with replacement of a-5 by ad-, as in administer
Related formsad·mi·ral·ship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for red admiral

admiral

noun
  1. the supreme commander of a fleet or navy
  2. Also called: admiral of the fleet, fleet admiral a naval officer of the highest rank, equivalent to general of the army or field marshal
  3. a senior naval officer entitled to fly his own flagSee also rear admiral, vice admiral
  4. mainly British the master of a fishing fleet
  5. any of various nymphalid butterflies, esp the red admiral or white admiral
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Derived Formsadmiralship, noun

Word Origin

C13: amyral, from Old French amiral emir, and from Medieval Latin admīrālis (the spelling with d probably influenced by admīrābilis admirable); both from Arabic amīr emir, commander, esp in the phrase amīr-al commander of, as in amīr-al-bahr commander of the sea

red admiral

noun
  1. a nymphalid butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, of temperate Europe and Asia, having black wings with red and white markingsSee also white admiral
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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 red admiral

admiral

n.

c.1200, "Saracen commander," from Old French amirail (12c.) "Saracen military commander; any military commander," probably ultimately from Arabic title amir-ar-rahl "chief of the transport," officer in the Mediterranean fleet, from amir "leader;" influenced by Latin ad-mirabilis (see admire).

Italian form almiraglio, Spanish almirante are from confusion with Arabic words in al-. Meaning "highest-ranking naval officer" is from early 15c. As a type of butterfly, from 1720, possibly a corruption of admirable.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper