ar·​go·​sy | \ ˈär-gə-sē How to pronounce argosy (audio) \
plural argosies

Definition of argosy

1 : a large ship especially : a large merchant ship three of your argosies are … come to harbor — William Shakespeare
2 : a fleet of ships
3 : a rich supply an argosy of railway folklore— F. P. Donovan

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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

First Known Use of argosy

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for argosy

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

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The first known use of argosy was in 1581

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Cite this Entry

“Argosy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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