gun·​boat | \ ˈgən-ˌbōt How to pronounce gunboat (audio) \

Definition of gunboat

: an armed ship of shallow draft

Examples of gunboat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The British Heritage, a vessel owned by BP, a British oil firm, was sailing east through the Strait of Hormuz on July 10th when three Iranian gunboats allegedly tried to halt its passage. The Economist, "A British warship stops Iran seizing an oil tanker," 11 July 2019 On this day in 1905, the steam boilers of the gunboat Bennington exploded at the H Street Pier killing 66 and injuring 40 more in the worst peacetime naval disaster the nation had yet experienced. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: In 1905 the gunboat Bennington exploded in San Diego harbor," 21 July 2019 According to sources in the British Ministry of Defence, the Montrose drove off three Iranian gunboats that sought to herd the tanker into Iranian waters in or near the Straits of Hormuz. Sam Kiley, CNN, "Iran shows growing fury in the Gulf. It really is desperate to talk," 11 July 2019 Over the next 18 months, a reasonably effective convoy system was put in place, but more tankers hit mines and were attacked by Iranian gunboats, further elevating tensions. James Stavridis, Time, "On Watch in the Arabian Gulf: What the U.S. Navy Faces Against Iran," 25 June 2019 After the gunboat was retired in 1909 and broken down in Bremerton, the guns were loaned by the Navy to United Spanish War Veterans of Seattle to be placed in the War Garden. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Seattle war memorial to lose battle guns, drawing criticism even as city cites safety, costs," 18 June 2018 More than 100 cruise missiles, launched from warplanes and gunboats, struck three Syrian facilities: a scientific research centre used to produce chemical weapons near the capital of Damascus and two military bases further north. The Economist, "America, Britain and France strike Syria," 14 Apr. 2018 The first Bennington, a gunboat, blew up in San Diego harbor in 1905, killing 56 men., "May 27, 1954: Explosion rips carrier Bennington," 27 May 2018 In real history, this is the day that a ragtag group of soldiers pull off one of the most audacious operations of the entire war: sail gunboats into the heart of enemy territory, burn Southern plantations, and rescue all the enslaved people. Rachel Kaufman, Smithsonian, "Pilot, Thinker, Soldier, Spy: The Epic “Timeless” Season Finale Twofer," 13 May 2018

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

1777, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near gunboat





gunboat diplomacy

gun breech

gun brig

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Time Traveler for gunboat

The first known use of gunboat was in 1777

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More Definitions for gunboat



English Language Learners Definition of gunboat

: a small ship with guns


gun·​boat | \ ˈgən-ˌbōt How to pronounce gunboat (audio) \

Kids Definition of gunboat

: a small armed ship for use near a coast

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More from Merriam-Webster on gunboat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gunboat

Spanish Central: Translation of gunboat

Nglish: Translation of gunboat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gunboat for Arabic Speakers

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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