ship of the lineship of the line
Historical a sailing warship of the largest class, with guns mounted on three or more decks
ship of the line
nounpl. ships of the line
A warship having at least two gun decks, armed powerfully enough to take a position in the line of battle.
(plural ships of the line)
- The OED records the terms line of battle ship, battleship, ship of the line and liner being used interchangeably up through the 19th century. In modern usage ship of the line is a wooden line of battle ship from the age of sail; battleship is an armoured and motorized warship of the late 19th and mid 20th centuries.
Contraction of line of battle ship, a warship large enough to be in the line of battle.