flo·​til·​la | \ flō-ˈti-lə How to pronounce flotilla (audio) \

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

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 (meaning "ship" or "fleet"), an ancestor to English's 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 The country can’t address this dark moment with a flotilla of ships. Andrew Morris-singer And Brian Souza, STAT, 9 May 2022 On Wednesday, a Russian flotilla with amphibious landing capabilities was reported to be heading toward this strategic Black Sea port, widely seen as the final target of the Russian southern advance. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Mar. 2022 According to naval expert H.I. Sutton, the eight-ship salvage flotilla includes the world’s oldest active warship, the Russian auxiliary Kommuna. David Axe, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 The company has already received blowback from astronomers and governments that are concerned about the growing flotilla of satellites Musk is positioning in space. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 10 Feb. 2022 The Navy did not say how close the flotilla was to Taiwan. Eric Cheung, CNN, 23 Jan. 2022 Thirty thousand high-end snow globes are trapped in San Pedro Bay, split between two shipping containers on two ships in the idle flotilla offshore. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2021 In early March, as the Russian navy amassed a flotilla of warships in Odesa’s harbor, Mauser’s hobby became a wartime enterprise. Will Hunt, The New Yorker, 9 Apr. 2022 Boaters, including a flotilla of at least 30 kayaks and a handful of stand-up paddleboarders, joined sailboats, fishing boats and a few yachts in McCovey Cove, just beyond the right field wall. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About flotilla

Time Traveler for flotilla

Time Traveler

The first known use of flotilla was in 1711

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About flotilla

Dictionary Entries Near flotilla




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for flotilla

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flotilla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flotilla. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for flotilla


flo·​til·​la | \ flō-ˈti-lə How to pronounce flotilla (audio) \

Kids Definition of flotilla

: a fleet of usually small ships

More from Merriam-Webster on flotilla

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flotilla

Nglish: Translation of flotilla for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!