1 of 3


: a number of warships under a single command
specifically : an organization of ships and aircraft under the command of a flag officer
: group sense 2a
especially : a group (as of ships, planes, or trucks) operated under unified control


2 of 3


: swift in motion : nimble
fleetly adverb
fleetness noun


3 of 3


fleeted; fleeting; fleets

intransitive verb

: to fade away : vanish
archaic : flow
[fleet entry 2] : to fly swiftly
clouds fleeting across the sky
obsolete : drift

transitive verb

: to cause (time) to pass usually quickly or imperceptibly
many young gentlemen … fleet the time carelesslyWilliam Shakespeare
Choose the Right Synonym for fleet

fast, rapid, swift, fleet, quick, speedy, hasty, expeditious mean moving, proceeding, or acting with celerity.

fast and rapid are very close in meaning, but fast applies particularly to the thing that moves

fast horses

and rapid to the movement itself.

rapid current

swift suggests great rapidity coupled with ease of movement.

returned the ball with one swift stroke

fleet adds the implication of lightness and nimbleness.

fleet runners

quick suggests promptness and the taking of little time.

a quick wit

speedy implies quickness of successful accomplishment

speedy delivery of mail

and may also suggest unusual velocity.

hasty suggests hurry and precipitousness and often connotes carelessness.

a hasty inspection

expeditious suggests efficiency together with rapidity of accomplishment.

the expeditious handling of an order

Examples of fleet in a Sentence

Noun He was the commander of the Pacific fleet. The company has a large fleet of delivery trucks. Adjective a jewel thief said to be light of heart and fleet of foot
Recent Examples on the Web
The fleet patrols a 48 million-square-mile area that covers parts of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Feb. 2024 Finally, stay in one of the Iconic Suites, the largest in the Celebrity fleet, for the ultimate splurge. Lauren Dana Ellman, Travel + Leisure, 15 Feb. 2024 Sinking the vessel would be another embarrassing blow for the Russian Black Sea fleet and a significant success for Ukraine 10 days before the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. Illia Novikov The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 15 Feb. 2024 Joining its current fleet of Excel-class ships; Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee, the new 180,000-ton ship will carry over 6,400 guests. Lewis Nunn, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Semi-Stow was the winning bidder for the fleet yard as part of Yellow Corporation's bankruptcy sale. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 The fleet of 120 California Highway Patrol officers who arrived last week on the governor’s orders to fight Oakland’s rampant crime problem was touted by the city’s leaders as a welcome solution in a time of crisis. Shomik Mukherjee, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 The company added that the FAA has given United permission to fly its fleet of A321neos while the agency evaluates the airline’s request. Jody Serrano / Gizmodo, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2024 From there, Quinn had expanded to projects that included restoring an aging fleet of Scorpion tanks; supplying the Nigerian government with rescue boats and training on how to operate them; fixing an offshore crude-loading platform in the Niger River Delta. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024
Car rental companies divested themselves of many of their fleet cars in the early days of the pandemic, and were not able to quickly replenish them due to microchip shortages and supply chain problems among automakers. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, 23 Aug. 2023 Or lovers-to-be, for the bulk of its cheerfully fleet 82-minute runtime — not that Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia’s fast-talking script leaves us in any doubt as to their destiny from their first sweetly awkward meet-cute. Guy Lodge, Variety, 16 Mar. 2023 Some diehard Romantics might object that Hough is too fleet in his approach. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 Building in predictive alerts to provide real time coaching is what is needed, and companies like Nauto are innovating rapidly in fleet predictive intelligence looking ahead vs analyzing statistics alone. Cindy Gordon, Forbes, 17 Oct. 2021 Additionally, Ultium Charge 360 will help support home charging and provide non-fleet drivers access to more than 60,000 public places to charge. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 16 July 2021 During the orchestral prelude, Daniel Barenboim drew a crisp, clean and fleet performance from the players. New York Times, 13 Mar. 2020 Burns thinks his company can compete for a share of the electric vehicle market by being quicker to adjust to technology and by targeting commercial, fleet customers who want more than what conventional trucks can supply. BostonGlobe.com, 8 Nov. 2019 Burns thinks his company can compete for a share of the electric vehicle market by being quicker to adjust to new technology and by targeting commercial, fleet customers who want more than what conventional trucks can supply. Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2019
The economic model targets fleeting attention spans, making layered artistry challenging. Anto Dotcom, Rolling Stone, 25 Oct. 2023 Songs come on the radio and instantly transport you back to a specific summer and that unforgettable vacation, fleeting romance or questionable decision that came with it. Joey Morona, cleveland, 19 Sep. 2023 While the two-day sale unfolds over July 11 and 12, our entire team is taking advantage of the limited-time fashion deals, fleeting Apple tech discounts, and rare sneaker sales that make Prime Day an unofficial holiday. Harper's BAZAAR, 11 July 2023 City residents and artists feel a sense of loss knowing that the odds of a momentary sighting or fleeting run-in with Ms. Ono are now even lower, and some have started writing tributes to her time in New York in blogs and small outlets. Anna Kodé, New York Times, 21 July 2023 The costs Afghanistan is enduring because of his edicts have given rise to persistent rumors of splits within the government—and even, this year, some notable if fleeting public evidence of internal dissent. Steve Coll, The New York Review of Books, 1 June 2023 No detox is open for intake in the evening or on the weekends, limiting the sometimes fleeting windows for people seeking sobriety to get help. Mallory Moench, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 Apr. 2023 The brothers are betting that their brand of versatile, distinctive pop music will win out over clever marketing strategies and fleeting social media fads. Brady Brickner-Wood, SPIN, 12 Apr. 2023 Some have also questioned how fleeting this new role might be: As the AI advances, won’t the humans just be training themselves out of a job? Drew Harwell, Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fleet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English flete, from Old English flēot ship, from flēotan


probably from fleet entry 3


Middle English fleten, from Old English flēotan; akin to Old High German fliozzan to float, Old English flōwan to flow

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of fleet was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fleet

Cite this Entry

“Fleet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fleet. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a group of warships under one command
: a group of ships or vehicles that move together or are under one management
a fleet of taxis
a fishing fleet


2 of 2 adjective
: very swift
fleet of foot
fleetly adverb
fleetness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fleet

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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