ar·​ma·​da | \ är-ˈmä-də How to pronounce armada (audio) , -ˈmā- How to pronounce armada (audio) also -ˈma- \

Definition of armada

1 : a fleet of warships
2 : a large force or group usually of moving things

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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 After just two doses of the vaccine, levels lift, then dip down to a startlingly stable plateau, thanks to a small armada of B cells in the bone marrow that continues to churn out antibodies. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 1 Dec. 2021 Twichell led in the early laps but fell off the pace as a small armada of motorboats, personal watercrafts and kayaks followed the swimmers around each lap. Nathan Fenno, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 The goal of this unarmed armada was nothing less than reclaiming the small river. New York Times, 21 June 2021 The fleet problem is one part of a process that could end with the U.S. fleet sailing into battle behind a deadly armada of stealthy drones. David Axe, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 The blitz of Chinese aircraft began on Friday, around the same time that an armada of 17 ships, including two U.S. carrier strike groups, gathered to conduct joint exercises southwest of Okinawa, not far from Taiwan. Josh Chin, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 This western armada has at least 17 warships from six different countries. Fox News, 4 Oct. 2021 With the hard cutover to the new terminal just hours away, work crews loaded the last of airline signage, computer terminals, concession supplies, and TSA security equipment into an armada of moving vans -- bound for their new home. Chris Sloan, CNN, 8 July 2021 Another piece hosted an armada of alien spaceships. Sandra Upson, Wired, 11 Nov. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of armada

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for armada

borrowed from Spanish, "military force, fleet of warships," from armar "to arm, equip" (going back to Latin armāre) + -ada, suffix of action or result (going back to Vulgar Latin *-āta, noun derivative from feminine of Latin -ātus, past participle ending of Latin first-conjugation verbs) — more at arm entry 2

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Dictionary Entries Near armada

arm's length



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Last Updated

11 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Armada.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for armada



English Language Learners Definition of armada

: a large group of ships, boats, etc.


ar·​ma·​da | \ är-ˈmä-də How to pronounce armada (audio) , -ˈmā- \

Kids Definition of armada

: a large fleet of warships

More from Merriam-Webster on armada

Nglish: Translation of armada for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about armada


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