Definitions

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

  • n. Nautical A large merchant ship.
  • n. Nautical A fleet of ships.
  • n. A rich source or supply: an argosy of adventure lore.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A merchant ship.
  • n. A merchant flotilla, fleet.
  • n. Popular anglicism of the Argonautika of Apollonios Rhodios.
  • n. A collection of lore.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large ship, esp. a merchant vessel of the largest size.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A large merchant vessel, especially one carrying a rich freight.
  • n. A fleet of ships.

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

  • n. one or more large merchant ships

Etymologies

Alteration of obsolete ragusye, from Italian ragusea, vessel of Ragusa (Dubrovnik).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration of Italian ragusea ("a large ship"), after the maritime city of Ragusa, now Dubrovnik. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mediterranean and from them is derived the word "argosy," signifying

    The Story of the Great War, Volume III (of 12) The War Begins, Invasion of Belgium, Battle of the Marne

  • A broadening of meaning and another shift in spelling gave us "argosy," denoting any merchant vessel or rich store.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • Looking at the first sense of "argosy," you might assume that this word is a close relative of "argonaut," but that isn't the case.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • By degrees, smoke began to issue from the sides of the great Grecian argosy, and the voice of Tancred announced to his soldiers that the

    Count Robert of Paris

  • The well-known captain of an East Indian vessel lately arrived from Britain was sedulously polite to her; and two or three gentlemen, whom Hartley knew to be engaged in trade, tended upon her as they would have done upon the safety of a rich argosy.

    The Surgeon's Daughter

  • Fastidiously the draught which we did thirst for; A rusted nail, placed near the faithful compass, Will sway it from the truth, and wreck the argosy.

    The Talisman

  • Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams On some outward voyaging argosy, -

    'Everything Is a Mystery'

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Comments

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  • We are the deathless dreamers of the world.
    Errant and sad, our argosies must go
    On barren quests and all the winds that blow
    Lure us to battle where tall seas are hurled.

    - Walter Adolphe Roberts, 'The Dreamers'.

    September 23, 2009

  • see argonaut also

    April 11, 2009

  • ...this grand argosy we towed heavily forged along, as if laden with piglead in bulk.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 64

    July 26, 2008

  • Usage note on poop. No, really.

    March 16, 2008

  • a large merchant ship. Word derives from the port city of Ragusa, on the Adriatic (now Dubrovnik)

    February 26, 2007