- the commander in chief of a fleet.
- a naval officer of the highest rank.
- a naval officer of a high rank: the grades in the U.S. Navy are fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, and rear admiral.
- Obsolete. the flagship of an admiral.
- British. a master who directs a fishing fleet.
- any of several often brightly colored butterflies of the family Nymphalidae, as Vanessa atalanta (red admiral).
- the supreme commander of a fleet or navy
- Also called: admiral of the fleet, fleet admiral a naval officer of the highest rank, equivalent to general of the army or field marshal
- a senior naval officer entitled to fly his own flagSee also rear admiral, vice admiral
- mainly British the master of a fishing fleet
- any of various nymphalid butterflies, esp the red admiral or white admiral
c.1200, “Saracen commander,” from Old French amirail (12c.) “Saracen military commander; any military commander,” probably ultimately from Arabic title amir-ar-rahl “chief of the transport,” officer in the Mediterranean fleet, from amir “leader;” influenced by Latin ad-mirabilis (see admire).
Italian form almiraglio, Spanish almirante are from confusion with Arabic words in al-. Meaning “highest-ranking naval officer” is from early 15c. As a type of butterfly, from 1720, possibly a corruption of admirable.