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

  • n. See warship.
  • n. A Portuguese man-of-war.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An armed naval vessel, primarily one armed with cannon and propelled by sails.
  • n. The Portuguese man-of-war, a jellyfish-like marine cnidarian of the family Physaliidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See Portuguese man-of-war under man-of-war and also see Physalia.
  • n. A government vessel employed for the purposes of war, esp. one of large size; a ship of war.
  • n. The Portuguese man-of-war.
  • n. See in the Vocabulary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An armed ship; a publicly recognized vessel fitted for engaging in battle; a ship of war.
  • n. In coal-mining, one of the small pillars left to support the roof of the chambers (or sides of work, as they are called locally) in working the “tenyard coal” in Staffordshire, England.
  • n. One of the jägers or skuas: a wrong use.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a warship intended for combat
  • n. large siphonophore having a bladderlike float and stinging tentacles


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Killing American sailors on the USS Cole in the port of Aden was praiseworthy since no modern Muslim power had ever so humbled an American man-of-war.

    The Slaughter That Muslims Could Not Ignore

  • Then, one day, the fog lifted on the edge of a heavy wind, and there jammed down upon us a schooner, with close in her wake the cloudy funnels of a Russian man-of-war.

    An Odyssey of the North

  • Another marine example is the Portuguese man-of-war, which can measure more than 150 feet from its air bladder to the tips of its tentacles.


  • His mention at the bottom of page 19 of sailors immediately made me think of the degree of specialization in an 18th or 19th century man-of-war, compared to the very little division of labor in, for example, a trireme or a proa.

    A Bland and Deadly Courtesy

  • So Longinus constructs his metaphor of Euripedes the man-of-words as Euripedes the man-of-war.

    On the Sublime

  • Partly it is this notion of the sublime returning to the domestic to shatter it, as in that moment when Odysseus reveals himself, less a man-of-war as he fires his arrows out into the crowd of suitors, more a terrorist or an exile returned, as Dionysus in Thebes.

    On the Sublime

  • Then came the man-of-war that threw shells for miles into the hills, frightening the people out of their villages and into the deeper bush.


  • As it was, the murder of the white men, of any white man, would bring a man-of-war that would kill the offenders and chop down the precious cocoanut trees.


  • And Nalasu, beyond knowing that something terrible was impending — something horribly more terrible than any foray of neighbouring salt-water tribes, which Somo, behind her walls, could easily fend off, divined that it was the long-expected punitive man-of-war.


  • First, he settled upon a blaze of lights which he knew nothing but a man-of-war could make.

    In Yeddo Bay


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  • Well, I don't know about you, but if *my* housemate fell from the ceiling onto me, I daresay I'd glare at her too.

    Good for Man-o-war. Never give up. :-)

    February 21, 2007

  • She used to fling herself bodily at the top of the cage and cling to the screen bars. Then fall. She never hurt herself, but sometimes she fell on her cage-mate, who would glare at her.

    February 21, 2007

  • Hence the utterly endearing name for her. ;-)

    February 21, 2007

  • Man-o-war is listed on my "Pets I Have Known" list. She was a sweet little gerbil.

    February 21, 2007

  • I've always favored man-o-war myself.

    February 21, 2007

  • Alternate spellings include man-o-war and man o' war.

    February 21, 2007