AskDefine | Define argosy

Dictionary Definition

argosy n : one or more large merchant ships

User Contributed Dictionary



Alteration of Italian ragusea, after Ragusa, now Dubrovnik; a large ship


  1. A merchant ship.
  2. A merchant flotilla, fleet.
    1594 ''Gremio, 'tis known my father hath no less Than three great argosies, besides two galliasses, And twelve tight galleys; these I will assure her, And twice as much, whate'er thou offer'st next. — Shakespeare, The">|The Taming of the Shrew.
  3. Popular anglicism of the Argonautika of Apollonios Rhodios.
    1918 ''Roger chuckled. "I hope you don't think I'm a mere highbrow," he said. "As a customer said to me once, without meaning to be funny, `I like both the Iliad and the Argosy.' The only thing I can't stand is literature that is unfairly and intentionally flavoured with vanilla. Confectionery soon disgusts the palate, whether you find it in Marcus Aurelius or Doctor Crane. — Christopher Morley, The Haunted Bookshop'', Chapter 6.
  4. A collection of lore.

Extensive Definition

Argosy, as used by Shakespeare (e.g., in King Henry VI, Part 3, Act 2, Scene VI; in the Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene III; and in the Taming of the Shrew, Act 2, Scene I), means a flotilla of merchant ships operating together under the same ownership. It is derived from the 16th century city Ragusa, now Dubrovnik, in Croatia, a major shipping power of the day and entered the language through the Italian "ragusea," meaning a Ragusan ship. The word bears no relation to the ship Argo from Greek mythology (Jason and the Argonauts). Since "argosy" and "odyssey" sound alike and both refer to ships or voyage by ship ("odyssey" refers to Odysseus' journey, not to his ship, which goes unnamed in Homer's Odyssey), occasionally "argosy" is misused as a synonym for "odyssey," namely as an adventure. The 1940s adventure magazine Argosy fixed that association in many minds.
The word Argosy can also refer to:
argosy in German: Argosy

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Naval Construction Battalion, RN, Royal Navy, Seabees, USN, United States Navy, armada, bark, boat, bottom, bottoms, bucket, coast guard, craft, division, escadrille, fleet, flotilla, hooker, hulk, hull, keel, leviathan, line, marine, merchant fleet, merchant marine, merchant navy, mosquito fleet, naval forces, naval militia, naval reserve, navy, packet, ship, shipping, ships, squadron, task force, task group, tonnage, tub, vessel, watercraft, whaling fleet
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