Definitions

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

  • n. A fast, lightly armed warship, smaller than a destroyer, often armed for antisubmarine operations.
  • n. An obsolete sailing warship, smaller than a frigate, usually armed with one tier of guns.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A flush-decked warship of the 17th-18th centuries having a single tier of guns; it ranked next below a frigate; -- called in the United States navy a sloop of war.
  • n. In a modern navy, a lightly armed and armoured blue water warship, smaller than a frigate, capable of transoceanic duty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A wooden ship of war, flush-decked, frigate-rigged, and having only One tier of guns.

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

  • n. a highly maneuverable escort warship; smaller than a destroyer

Etymologies

French, a kind of warship, probably from Middle Dutch corf, basket, small ship; see corf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French corvette. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The _Iroquois_ and her sisters, built in the fifties, were vessels of the kind to which I have applied the term corvette, then very common in all navies; cruisers only; scouts, or commerce-destroyers.

    From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life

  • The English did not apply the term corvette to brigs, but designated such two-masted vessels as brigs-of-war, though they are sometimes spoken of as brig-sloops.

    How Britannia Came to Rule the Waves Updated to 1900

  • A corvette is so much smaller than a destroyer that I remember going aboard a destroyer a while back, after a spell in a corvette, and congratulating the Captain on the enormous size of his ship.

    What Is the Navy Doing?

  • The corvette is a smart-looking vessel, of 1200 tons burden, and barque rigged.

    Latest News from Abroad

  • A corvette is a vessel slightly smaller than a frigate and is suited mainly for coastal protection work.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • She nodded and held out what the folk of Mejis called a corvette - "little packet" was the literal definition; "little purse" was the practical one.

    Wizard and Glass

  • Mediterranean to look out for a French and Spanish squadron, which had been on the coast of Portugal, but returned to Ferrol --- I received all your letters by the Turkish corvette, which is arrived at Messina.

    The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, Volume 2

  • I myself have usually called them by the French name corvette, which has a recognized place in English marine phraseology, and means a sloop-of-war of the smaller class.

    From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life

  • This all-purpose nature determined its classification: instead of being given third rank common for Russian ships, such as small hunter-killer, small missile boat, etc., the new ship was classified as a corvette, which, according to Western standard, is an all-purpose warship.

    RIA Novosti

  • The corvette is a great driver's car but man …. leaf springs and a walmart interior?

    Leftlane - news, reviews, and info for the auto-industry

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