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

Keep scrolling for more

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 But much like the Chiefs did in the divisional round, Patrick Mahomes and his fleet flotilla of playmakers responded with 28 straight points, cruising in the fourth quarter to a 35-24 victory. Dave Skretta, BostonGlobe.com, "Chiefs aiming to get off to a fast start on offense against Browns," 16 Jan. 2021 About a week later, our rag-tag flotilla hit the water again, this time with hunting gear and a few hundred gallons of fuel. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Hunting Giant Alaska Black Bears with Old-School Recurve Bows and Flintlocks," 22 Dec. 2020 The flotilla's communications had been down for the past twenty minutes, an eternity. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part I: Peril in the South China Sea," 26 Jan. 2021 Von Braun’s plan involved a tentative moon program, space shuttles, a space station and a flotilla of reusable rockets. David W. Brown, WSJ, "For NASA, It Should Be Mars or Bust," 18 Dec. 2020 The pro-Brexit side made fishing independence a central issue, with one of its key cheerleaders, Nigel Farage, leading a flotilla of fishing vessels along the River Thames in the last days of the 2016 referendum campaign. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Brexit Negotiations Inch Forward—With One Key Obstacle," 16 Dec. 2020 The peaceful flotilla of boats decorated with lights and ornaments featured Santa as well as a procession of church and youth choirs singing carols. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Mission Bay holiday boat parade launched 50 years ago," 15 Dec. 2020 The twinkling flotilla begins at Twin Coves Marina and rounds the lake, stopping at each marina to pick up more boats. Dallas News, "Holiday parades, virtual and in-person, welcome Santa to North Texas," 19 Nov. 2020 When the crew of the latest mission returns in the spring of 2021, NASA has already announced one major change for the landing site: A larger flotilla of Coast Guard ships to keep pleasure craft away. Justin Bachman, Fortune, "SpaceX, NASA plan second commercial taxi to the space station this weekend," 13 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for flotilla

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flotilla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flotilla. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flotilla



English Language Learners Definition of flotilla

: a group of small ships


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

Comments on flotilla

What made you want to look up flotilla? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
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!