Definition of argosy
- three of your argosies are … come to harbor
- —William Shakespeare
- an argosy of railway folklore
- —F. P. Donovan
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a book that is an argosy of stories and legends about the golden age of Hollywood
Looking at the first sense of "argosy," you might assume that this word is a close relative of "argonaut," but that isn't the case. Although both words have a nautical sense, they have different etymologies. The original argonauts sailed on a ship called the Argo to seek the Golden Fleece; their moniker combines the name of their ship and the Greek word nautēs, meaning "sailor." "Argosy" comes from "Ragusa," the Italian name for the city that is now Dubrovnik, Croatia. Over time, "Ragusa" was modified into "ragusea," a noun for the laden merchant ships that sailed from that port in medieval days. A broadening of meaning and another shift in spelling gave us "argosy," denoting any merchant vessel or rich store.
First Known Use: 1581See Words from the same year
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