ar·​go·​sy ˈär-gə-sē How to pronounce argosy (audio)
plural argosies
: a large ship
especially : a large merchant ship
three of your argosies are … come to harbor William Shakespeare
: a fleet of ships
: a rich supply
an argosy of railway folkloreF. P. Donovan

Did you know?

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.

Examples of argosy in a Sentence

a book that is an argosy of stories and legends about the golden age of Hollywood

Word History


modification of Italian ragusea Ragusan vessel, from Ragusa, Dalmatia (now Dubrovnik, Croatia)

First Known Use

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of argosy was in 1581


Dictionary Entries Near argosy

Cite this Entry

“Argosy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​go·​sy ˈär-gə-sē How to pronounce argosy (audio)
plural argosies
: a large merchant ship
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