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

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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

Many in the West know the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardım Vakfı, IHH) only for its role in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, but IHH has become a major Turkish partner in Africa. Michael Rubin, National Review, "Turkey’s Africa Strategy Threatens to Breed Islamist Extremism," 26 June 2019 Its mission spans from coastal patrols to blue-water flotillas in international waters as far as the Pacific and Mediterranean. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "Iran has two naval forces with separate missions and commands. This is why.," 14 June 2019 Assuming the berg doesn’t break apart en route and the flotilla makes it to Cape Town, another piece of expensive kit will be required, notes Bloomberg: a $22 million geotextile skirt for the underwater portion of the berg, to inhibit melting. Steve Mollman, Quartz, "Water shortages could make iceberg delivery routine," 8 June 2019 From the moment a flotilla of pro and anti-Brexit boats dueled on the Thames outside Parliament the week of the Brexit vote, the tone was set for successive national absurdities. Tina Brown, Time, "Tina Brown: How Britain Lost the Plot Over Brexit," 6 June 2019 The river doesn’t need to be an attraction for a flotilla of plastic boats. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Kayaks on Guadalupe River may scatter turtles and fish," 5 June 2019 And among this new space flotilla were small satellites representing the vanguard for a new generation of global surveillance. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "How Small Satellites Will Help Police Earth's Vast Oceans," 4 Feb. 2019 The naval flotilla includes several thousand U.S. Marines deployed on amphibious vessels capable of landing behind enemy lines. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Pentagon Scales Back Joint U.S./South Korean Military Exercises," 26 Nov. 2018 At least eight ships, including a missile cruiser and two missile-carrying submarines, have joined the Russian flotilla over the past three weeks. Fox News, "NATO reports Russian naval buildup amid Syria tensions," 29 Aug. 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

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for flotilla

The first known use of flotilla was in 1711

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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

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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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