Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • interj. Used to hail a ship or a person or to attract attention.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. Used to hail a ship, a boat or a person, or to attract attention.
  • v. To hail with a cry of "ahoy".

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • interj. A term used in hailing.”

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Nautical, an exclamation used to attract the attention of persons at a distance: as, ship ahoy!

Etymologies

From "a-hoy"; 'hoy' being a Middle English greeting dating back to the fourteenth century. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And then there's the pub, all brown and homely inside, but with seats outside where you can watch the activity on the water as the boats dislodge their holidaymaker crews in search of a pie and a pint, and people who look like habitual landlubbers establish their credentials by shouting commands which incorporate such seafarer words as "ahoy".

    The rail to nowhere

  • The word "ahoy" will, however, be retained, and in fact used to even more excess than before.

    Archive 2004-02-01

  • The long drawn out "ahoy" had scarcely died on their lips before it was answered by an equally long blast from the whistle, to which they responded by repeating the hail at brief intervals, each answering blast of the whistle telling them that the boat was drawing nearer, until at length the faint loom of the boat showed in the darkness, and a lantern was suddenly held high above a man's head.

    In Search of El Dorado

  • His heart began to throb and his hopes to rise, for he felt convinced that the "ahoy" was an answer to his call, and in a wild fit of excitement and joy he said to himself, --

    Fire Island Being the Adventures of Uncertain Naturalists in an Unknown Track

  • A Google News search over the past month shows 414 stories with references to "ahoy," 150 to "avast," 76 to "walk the plank," 61 to "Davy Jones," and 165 to varying spellings of

    Blogs navigation

  • Actually, he liked to use two ahoys in a row: Ahoy, ahoy!

    The English Is Coming!

  • Anchors aweigh, ship ahoy, and all that— remember?

    My Navy Daze

  • The final cost of the film was somewhere between $140m and $160m, figures gleefully quoted by negative reviewers who spied a massive flop ahoy and predicted chastening financial losses.

    Mark Kermode: How to make an intelligent blockbuster and not alienate people

  • Picture so many words showering down from the chateau, falling like tears of joy, watering all those heirloom roses, ahoy!

    French Word-A-Day:

  • The person slowly turned to stare at Lisa, smiled broadly, and whispered, in a voice as dry as a desert wind: Ship ahoy, there you are.

    Bubble in the Bathtub

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