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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Man-of-war \Man`-of-war"\, n; pl. Men-of-war.

  1. A government vessel employed for the purposes of war, esp. one of large size; a ship of war. [WordNet sense 1]

    Syn: ship of the line.

  2. The Portuguese man-of-war.

    Syn: Syn.
    --, jellyfish.

    Man-of-war hawk (Zo["o]l.), the frigate bird.

    Man-of-war's man, a sailor serving in a ship of war.

    Portuguese man-of-war (Zo["o]l.), any species of the genus Physalia; it is a hydrozoan having both medusa and polyp stages present in a single colony. It floats on the surface of the sea by a buoyant bladderlike structure, from which dangle multiple long tentacles with stinging cells. Its can cause severe rashes when it comes in contact with humans swimming in the area. See Physalia.


n. (man-of-war English)

  1. n. a warship intended for combat [syn: ship of the line]

  2. large siphonophore having a bladderlike float and stinging tentacles [syn: Portuguese man-of-war, jellyfish]

  3. [also: men-of-war (pl), men-o'-war (pl)]


Usage examples of "men-of-war".

The first question the abbe asked me was whether I thought myself capable of paying a visit to eight or ten men-of-war in the roads at Dunkirk, of making the acquaintance of the officers, and of completing a minute and circumstantial report on the victualling, the number of seamen, the guns, ammunition, discipline, etc.

At the Victoria port he found a confused mass of ships of all nations: English, French, American, and Dutch, men-of-war and trading vessels, Japanese and Chinese junks, sempas, tankas, and flower-boats, which formed so many floating parterres.

Mostyn lit a cigar, and, thrusting his hands into his pockets, regarded the scene before him with genial meditation--the creamy wash of the sea at their feet, the surface of the water like corrugated silver stretching to the farther sky, with that long lane of golden light crossing it to the sun, Alcatras, Angel Island, Saucilito, the rocky fortresses, and the men-of-war in the harbour, on one of which flew the British ensign--the Cormorant, commanded by Debney.

Over seventy-five men-of-war, including six monitors, and carrying six hundred guns, assailed it with a storm of shot and shell that averaged four projectiles per second for several hours.

Clouds of birds rose when they landed - terns, boobies, men-of-war, frigates - but quickly settled again.

As for Men-of-War, when they chance to meet at sea, they first go through such a string of silly bowings and scrapings, such a ducking of ensigns, that there does not seem to be much right-down hearty good-will and brotherly love about it at all.

Men like them were to be found aboard most men-of-war in a time of hot press, and an established ship's company could wear a certain number without much harm.

Men like them were to be found aboard most men-of-war in a time of hot press, and an established ship’.

The flag - which indeed was general, as I saw when I looked at the other men-of-war - was because of the death of a royal, or near enough, the Duke of Habachtsthal, who owned Rossnacreena Castle, Lord Lieutenant of the county, and who had cut his throat in London last Thursday - the news was just come over.

I walked towards the northeast coast over against Blefuscu, and lying down behind a hillock, took out my small pocket perspective-glass, and viewed the enemy's fleet at anchor, consisting of about fifty men-of-war, and a great number of transports: I then came back to my house, and gave order (for which I had a warrant) for a great quantity of the strongest cable and bars of iron.

La Reunion lay right in the path of the eastern trade, and although the Company's ships were usually well enough armed to deal with the privateers and pirates that swarmed in those seas, while the Royal Navy, by stretching its resources to the utmost, could just contain the French men-of-war, the sudden arrival of four frigates would be catastrophic: furthermore, the Frenchmen had excellent deepwater harbours in Port-Louis and Port South-East and St Paul's, sheltered from the frequent hurricanes and full of marine stores, whereas the Navy's nearest base was the Cape, more than two thousand miles to the south.

So if one Martello tower can do that to two men-of-war, while at the same time it keeps off fourteen hundred soldiers, just think what Grimsholm, much higher, fifty times as strong, and with no soldiers to worry about, could do.

Accompanied by four small ships, he circled the British Isles, captured merchant vessels and men-of-war within sight of their harbors, sailed into numerous bays, and even approached the Thames.

Mould and Vaggers, not to put too fine a point upon it, were smugglers, and both their living and their freedom depended on their outsailing the Revenue cutters or the faster men-of-war that tried to detain them.

The colors complimented the long low lines of the men-of-war, all of them painted an arctic white, and the long still columns of men waiting at parade rest at the gangways to take their turn in the small boats scurrying to shore.