Definition of frigate
1 : a light boat propelled originally by oars but later by sails
2 : a square-rigged war vessel intermediate between a corvette and a ship of the line
3 : a modern warship that is smaller than a destroyer
Did You Know?
In the 17th–19th centuries, a frigate was a three-masted, fully rigged sailing ship, often carrying 30–40 guns in all. Smaller and faster than ships of the line (the principal vessels of naval warfare), frigates served as scouts or as escorts protecting merchant convoys; they also cruised the seas as merchant raiders themselves. In World War II, Britain revived the term frigate using it to describe escort ships equipped with sonar and depth charges, and used these ships to guard convoys from submarines. In the postwar decades, the frigate also adopted an antiaircraft role, adding radar and surface-to-air missiles. Modern frigates can sail at a speed of 30 knots and carry a crew of 200.
Origin and Etymology of frigate
Medieval French, from Old Italian fregata
First Known Use: 1583
FRIGATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of frigate for English Language Learners
: a small and fast military ship
FRIGATE Defined for Kids
Definition of frigate for Students
1 : a square-rigged warship
2 : a modern warship that is smaller than a destroyer
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up frigate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).