ar·ma·da | \är-ˈmä-də, -ˈmā- also -ˈma- \

Definition of armada 

1 : a fleet of warships

2 : a large force or group usually of moving things

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

A Spanish word that originally meant simply "armed", armada is now used in Spanish-speaking nations as the name of their national navies. In English, the word usually has historical overtones. The Great Armada of 1588 was a 120-ship fleet sent by Philip II of Spain in an attempt to invade Elizabethan England; it was defeated when British forces lit eight ships afire and sent them sailing into the Armada's midst, then blocked the passage to the south so that the remaining ships were forced to sail northward around Britain in order to return home, causing dozens more ships to be wrecked in the stormy northern seas. Today we sometimes use the word humorously for fleets of fishing boats, rowboats, or canoes.

Examples of armada in a Sentence

an armada of fishing boats an armada of ships sailing up the coast

Recent Examples on the Web

Within seconds IceCube had alerted an armada of astronomical satellites, including the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "It Came From a Black Hole, and Landed in Antarctica," 12 July 2018 The invasion, widely seen as a last-ditch effort by Argentina’s military junta to consolidate power, was stifled in just 74 days as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher deployed an armada to retake the archipelago. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Rick Jolly, British navy doctor who treated both sides in Falklands War, dies at 71," 16 Jan. 2018 The one constant during that time has been the armada of support from the stands, and fans like Cignetti, who traveled from Córdoba. Tariq Panja, New York Times, "Croatia Buries Argentina’s World Cup Hopes in a Deep Hole," 22 June 2018 Yet keeping the Spanish armada at bay to claim the point that would boost hopes of qualifying for the last 16 looks a tall order. Justin Davis,, "Spain face World Cup date with destiny against Iran," 19 June 2018 Potomac Watch Podcast On cue came the armada blaming budget cuts. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "About That IRS Computer Crash," 18 Apr. 2018 Our mission on this day would be very different — just a small armada of eight kayaks ferrying paddlers intent on exploring the bay’s palm-fringed shore. New York Times, "Want to See the Wild Side of Cuba? Try a Kayak," 16 May 2018 The History of White People,’’ with a small armada of titles and honorifics under her belt, studied art as an undergraduate (and painted and drew essentially her entire life). Kathleen Hirsch,, "A portrait of the artist as an older woman," 29 June 2018 The festivities included a dinner in an old colonial house with each table named for a ship in that eighteenth-century armada, and a fifties-themed party in the Riviera Hotel. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "A Tour Of Havana’s Museums and Architecture Reveals The City’s Hidden History," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'armada.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of armada

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for armada

Spanish, from Medieval Latin armata army, fleet, from Latin, feminine of armatus, past participle of armare to arm, from arma

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about armada

Statistics for armada

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for armada

The first known use of armada was in 1550

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for armada



English Language Learners Definition of armada

: a large group of ships, boats, etc.


ar·ma·da | \är-ˈmä-də, -ˈmā-\

Kids Definition of armada

: a large fleet of warships

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on armada

What made you want to look up armada? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!