- a large sailing vessel of the 15th to the 17th centuries used as a fighting or merchant ship, square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast and generally lateen-rigged on one or two after masts.
- nautical a large sailing ship having three or more masts, lateen-rigged on the after masts and square-rigged on the foremast and mainmast, used as a warship or trader from the 15th to the 18th centuries
large ship, 1520s, from Old French galion “little ship” (13c.), from Spanish galeón “galleon, armed merchant ship,” from Byzantine Greek galea “galley” (see galley) + augmentative suffix -on. In English use, especially of Spanish ships involved in the American trade.