admiral


admiral

noun

  1. the commander in chief of a fleet.
  2. a naval officer of the highest rank.
  3. a naval officer of a high rank: the grades in the U.S. Navy are fleet admiral, admiral, vice-admiral, and rear admiral.
  4. Obsolete. the flagship of an admiral.
  5. British. a master who directs a fishing fleet.
  6. any of several often brightly colored butterflies of the family Nymphalidae, as Vanessa atalanta (red admiral).

noun

  1. the supreme commander of a fleet or navy
  2. Also called: admiral of the fleet, fleet admiral a naval officer of the highest rank, equivalent to general of the army or field marshal
  3. a senior naval officer entitled to fly his own flagSee also rear admiral, vice admiral
  4. mainly British the master of a fishing fleet
  5. any of various nymphalid butterflies, esp the red admiral or white admiral
n.

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.

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