Definition of flotilla
1 : a fleet of ships or boats; especially : a navy organizational unit consisting of two or more squadrons of small warships
2 : an indefinite large number a flotilla of changes
flotilla was our Word of the Day on 08/09/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Flotilla comes from the diminutive form of the Spanish noun flota, meaning "fleet." Flota derives via Old French from Old Norse "floti" and is related to Old English "flota" ("ship"), an ancestor to our word float. Much like other words referring to groups of particular things (such as "swarm"), "flotilla" has taken on expanded usage to refer simply to a large number of something not necessarily having to do with nautical matters, often with humorous effect (e.g., "a flotilla of rather mature-looking male models" - Jed Perl, The New Republic).
Origin and Etymology of flotilla
Spanish, diminutive of flota fleet, from Old French flote, from Old Norse floti; akin to Old English flota ship, fleet — more at float
First Known Use: 1711
FLOTILLA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of flotilla for English Language Learners
: a group of small ships
FLOTILLA Defined for Kids
Definition of flotilla for Students
: a fleet of usually small ships
Seen and Heard
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