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

  • n. An ancient galley equipped with two tiers of oars on each side.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an ancient galley having two banks of oars, one above the other.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An ancient galley or vessel with two banks or tiers of oars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An ancient galley having two banks or tiers of oars.


Latin birēmis : bi-, two; see bi-1 + rēmus, oar; see erə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • To increase the driving force and the speed, they added a second and then a third bank of oars, thus producing the "bireme" and the "trireme."

    A History of Sea Power

  • Director Wolfgang Petersen recreates a long-ago world of bireme warships, clashing armies, the massive fortress city and the towering Trojan Horse.

    Geek Deal: Troy Blu-Ray for $9.99 | /Film

  • Hence find bireme, hemiolia, merchantman, myoparo, quinquereme, sixteener and trireme in the glossary of Fortune's Favorites.

    Fortune's Favorites

  • At nights, when the sea was quiet and the bireme rocked to and fro with the swells, he would often awake with a jerk, his body soaked in cold sweat as memories rushed on him in his sleep.

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • The galley they were sailing on was a military bireme, twin-oared, a lot different from the trading ship that had brought him to the mines.

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • From Crete, the bireme made a straight approach to Rhodes for a two-day stop during which Casca and the others were allowed to exercise themselves on deck (the crew used them to help load a cargo of skins and other items into the hold next to the slave section).

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • The ashes reached the bireme far out at sea and turned the ship into a filthy mess of wet ash and powdered pumice that invaded everything from the pores of their skins to the food they ate.

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • There they were loaded on a bireme, a twin-banked coastal ship that would take them to the port of Cenchrea.

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • So that even now, when the hortator of the bireme struck the skin hide of the drum to set the measure for the oarsmen, Casca could feel a twinge seem to ripple over his back, for a slave master's lash, on the galley he had slaved on, had made its mark there.

    The Eternal Mercenary

  • Casca was on a bireme out of Antium when Yesuvius blew and smothered Herculaneum and Pompeii beneath tons of ash and lava.

    The Eternal Mercenary

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