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

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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

Here’s just one: Trump boasted in April 2017 that an armada was headed to North Korea. Alex Ward, Vox, "How Trump made the North Korea crisis worse," 12 Dec. 2018 Barrel jellyfish, for example, can form dense armadas that stretch for dozens of miles. Carl Zimmer, The Seattle Times, "In the sea, a big appetite for jellyfish," 26 Oct. 2018 This creates, in effect, an armada of tiny telescopes, each hyper-focused on a single celestial sight. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "A Heavenly Disk To Map The Universe," 13 Aug. 2018 Thousands of destroyers, battleships, attack vessels, and transport ships comprised the armada; the sky was a violent mirror, with airborne divisions raining down thousands of bombs simultaneously. Paula Mclain, Town & Country, "The Extraordinary Life of Martha Gellhorn, the Woman Ernest Hemingway Tried to Erase," 12 July 2018 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

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

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

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The first known use of armada was in 1550

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on armada

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with armada

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for armada

Spanish Central: Translation of armada

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

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