See more synonyms for U-boat on Thesaurus.com

Origin of U-boat

1910–15; < German U-Boot, short for Unterseeboot literally, undersea boat
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for u-boats

submersible, U-boat

Examples from the Web for u-boats

Contemporary Examples of u-boats

  • After all, German U-boats had killed more U.S. sailors in the north Atlantic than died at Pearl Harbor.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Inglorious Bastards

    Eric Dezenhall

    July 19, 2011

Historical Examples of u-boats

  • It was the belief that the destroyer had sunk one of the U-boats.

    In the Flash Ranging Service

    Edward Alva Trueblood

  • My own notion of it is that the U-boats have many of us bluffed.

    The U-boat hunters

    James B. Connolly

  • It was all interesting—the life in Paris—but it had nothing to do with U-boats.

    The U-boat hunters

    James B. Connolly

  • Also he urged the crew to have a special watch out for U-boats.

    The U-boat hunters

    James B. Connolly

  • By this time the lurking U-boats had been dealt with in a most effective way.

    A Lively Bit of the Front

    Percy F. Westerman

British Dictionary definitions for u-boats


  1. a German submarine, esp in World Wars I and II

Word Origin for U-boat

from German U-Boot, abbreviation for Unterseeboot, literally: undersea boat
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 u-boats


1916 (said to have been in use from 1913), partial translation of German U-Boot, short for Unterseeboot, literally "undersea boat."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

u-boats in Culture


German submarines during World War I and World War II. U-boat is a translation of the German U-boot, which is short for Unterseeboot, or “undersea boat.”


Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat. Eventually, U-boat attacks on neutral ships drew the United States into the war.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.