flotilla

noun
flo·​til·​la | \ flō-ˈti-lə \

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

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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).

Examples of flotilla in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In that book, Dr. Rose explored the experience of 10,000 blacks in Port Royal, S.C., who were freed early in the Civil War when a Union flotilla captured the city in 1861 and plantation owners fled. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Willie Lee Rose, Historian of Reconstruction, Dies at 91," 27 June 2018 The Israeli Navy stormed a similar pro-Palestinian flotilla organized by Turkish charity in 2010, an incident in which nine Turkish activists were killed. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Turkey’s Rise Sparks New Friendship Between Israel and Greece," 21 July 2018 The three-day festival includes pumpkin pie cooking and eating contests, the Pumpkin Fest Parade and a giant pumpkin regatta, featuring pumpkin flotillas on Lake Michigan. Traci L. Suppa, Woman's Day, "9 Illuminating Jack-o'-Lantern Festivals to Visit This October," 29 Sep. 2016 The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps operates flotillas of small speedboats that, despite their small size, pose an outsized threat to U.S. ships. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Iran Just Claimed Control Over the Persian Gulf. Here’s How They’d Defend It.," 27 Aug. 2018 The following year, Greece provided Israel with a big favor by blocking in Greek ports an international flotilla of boats that aimed to break Israel’s Gaza blockade. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Turkey’s Rise Sparks New Friendship Between Israel and Greece," 21 July 2018 As the maid in Manet’s Olympia, Laure is presenting a large bouquet of flowers sent by a client of the naked courtesan who lies on a flotilla of white cushions. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Painter Elizabeth Colomba Is Giving Art’s Hidden Figures Their Close-Up," 10 Oct. 2018 In that book, Dr. Rose explored the experience of 10,000 blacks in Port Royal, S.C., who were freed early in the Civil War when a Union flotilla captured the city in 1861 and plantation owners fled. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Willie Lee Rose, historian of Reconstruction, dies at 91," 28 June 2018 The four-day event has a lot of components, including a flotilla of dive boats departing from Morne Rouge Bay for a lionfish hunt. Mark Rogers, USA TODAY, "Lionfish in the Caribbean: Destructive menace, delicious dinner," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flotilla.' 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 flotilla

1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flotilla

Spanish, diminutive of flota fleet, from Old French flote, from Old Norse floti; akin to Old English flota ship, fleet — more at float

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Statistics for flotilla

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flotilla

The first known use of flotilla was in 1711

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More Definitions for flotilla

flotilla

noun

English Language Learners Definition of flotilla

: a group of small ships

flotilla

noun
flo·​til·​la | \ flō-ˈti-lə \

Kids Definition of flotilla

: a fleet of usually small ships

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More from Merriam-Webster on flotilla

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flotilla

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flotilla

Spanish Central: Translation of flotilla

Nglish: Translation of flotilla for Spanish Speakers

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