gun·​boat ˈgən-ˌbōt How to pronounce gunboat (audio)
: an armed ship of shallow draft

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The former queries were answered, but (the American gunboat’s commander) politely refused to answer the last one. Brad Lendon, CNN, 26 May 2023 Three years later, on Aug. 20, 1924, the Soviet gunboat Red October arrived with a company of Red Army infantry. Thomas Emanuel Dans, WSJ, 4 Nov. 2022 If now-extinct animals don't do it for you, the collection of three-dimensional digital artifacts also includes plenty of stuff for history buffs, like the Wright brothers' plane, a gunboat from the Revolutionary War, and Amelia Earhart's flight suit. Breanna Draxler, Discover Magazine, 14 Nov. 2013 How the city’s outpouring for the victims of a horrific 1905 gunboat explosion in San Diego Bay helped turn this into a Navy town. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Dec. 2022 Bolshevik henchmen on the Soviet gunboat Red October seized the islands from American settlers. Thomas Emanuel Dans, WSJ, 4 Nov. 2022 There are graves for 35 Navy sailors killed in the boiler explosion aboard the gunboat Bennington in 1905. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2022 The flotilla included an even older ship, a former Russian gunboat named the Politkofsky reduced into a coal barge. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 Despite the arrangements with the government and SPLA leaders, who were observing a cease-fire at the time, the expedition suffered a close call with a government gunboat in the flatwater of Sudan. Grayson Schaffer, Outside Online, 7 Feb. 2011 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gunboat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1777, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gunboat was in 1777

Dictionary Entries Near gunboat

Cite this Entry

“Gunboat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


gun·​boat ˈgən-ˌbōt How to pronounce gunboat (audio)
: a small lightly armed ship for use in shallow waters

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