from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A ship having three decks, especially one of a class of sail-powered warships with guns on three decks.
  • noun Something with three levels or layers, as.
  • noun A three-story apartment building.
  • noun A sandwich having three slices of bread.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A vessel of war carrying guns on three decks; formerly, a line-of-battle ship, such ships being of that description in the sailing navy and the earlier naval classification after the introduction of steam.
  • Having three decks: as, a three-decker ship; hence, having three stories, tiers, or levels, as a piece of furniture or an old-fashioned pulpit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) A vessel of war carrying guns on three decks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun nautical A sailing warship that had guns on each of three decks
  • noun A sandwich made from three slices of bread; a triple-decker

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

  • noun a warship carrying guns on three decks
  • noun made with three slices of usually toasted bread
  • noun any ship having three decks


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • A sail warship carrying guns on three fully armed decks. Usually additional guns were carried on the upper works (forecastle and quarterdeck), but this was not a continuous battery, so these did not count. Three-deckers were usually ships of the line, classed as first-rate or second-rate.

    OR: You can go with a sandwich made of three slices of usually toasted bread, but you're likely to lose the war.

    December 4, 2007