noun ad·mi·ral \ˈad-m(ə-)rəl\

: a high-ranking officer in the navy

Full Definition of ADMIRAL

archaic :  the commander in chief of a navy
a :  flag officer
b :  a commissioned officer in the navy or coast guard who ranks above a vice admiral and whose insignia is four stars — compare general
archaic :  flagship
:  any of several brightly colored nymphalid butterflies — compare red admiral

Origin of ADMIRAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French amiral commander & Medieval Latin admiralis emir, admirallus admiral, from Arabic amīr-al- commander of the (as in amīr-al-baḥr commander of the sea)
First Known Use: 15th century
ADMIRAL Defined for Kids


noun ad·mi·ral \ˈad-mə-rəl, -mrəl\

Definition of ADMIRAL for Kids

:  a commissioned officer in the navy or coast guard ranking above a vice admiral

Word History of ADMIRAL

The word admiral looks a lot like the word admire. The two words, though, are not related. Admire came from a Latin verb that meant to marvel at. Admiral came from an Arabic title that meant commander. It may have been part of a phrase that meant commander of the sea.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears