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See more synonyms for U-boat on Thesaurus.com
  1. a German submarine.
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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. 2018

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Examples from the Web for u-boats

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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
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Word Origin

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."

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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.”

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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.