Ship-of-the-line definition

Frequency:
A warship having at least two gun decks, armed powerfully enough to take a position in the line of battle.
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(historical) A sailing warship of the largest class, with guns mounted on three or more decks.
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(nautical, military) A large square-rigged warship large enough to have a place in the line of battle. with up to 140 guns on at least two decks. A capital ship from the age of sail, superior to a frigate; usually, a seventy-four, or three-decker.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
ship-of-the-line
Plural:
ships of the line

Origin of ship-of-the-line

  • Contraction of line of battle ship, a warship large enough to be in the line of battle.

    From Wiktionary