from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sailing ship that has been set alight and left to drift into an opposing fleet. Famously used by Englishman Sir Francis Drake when fighting the Spanish Armada of 1588.
  • n. A diseased prostitute.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From fire + ship


  • Francis Drake hardly figures at all: he has a couple of late scenes in a ship's cabin with map on table, saying "what shall we do, Walter?", while Clive Owen's Raleigh is the hero of the hour, single-handedly directing a fireship into the advancing CG Spanish fleet (special effects worse than an episode of Dr Who) and hence repelling the invaders.

    November 2007

  • I would have boarded a fireship to get into action, and mildly suggested as much to my friend Pea.

    Reprinted Pieces

  • The Athenians, alarmed for the safety of their fleet, contrived means by which they extinguished their flames, and succeeded in keeping the fireship at a distance.

    The History of the Peloponnesian War

  • At one point a Royal Navy frigate sent a boat to request that sorry chaps but could a Turkish fireship please be moved.

    American Connections

  • El Draque! brought confusion and panic like the descent of a fireship.

    The Drum is now beating - There is no turning back.

  • Here on board this veritable fireship I cannot help contemplating with a longing eye this vast ocean that surrounds us.

    The Survivors of the Chancellor

  • Gylippus attempts to capture some Athenian ships but is thwarted by the Athenians, who also stop a Syracusan fireship before it causes harm.


  • From what he can tell, there has been another chaos-explosion, perhaps on a fireship, and a great deal of stress and pressure has been placed on the highest level of the Magi'i.

    The Magi'i Of Cyador

  • The trunk dwarfs any fireship Lorn had seen and, were it upright, could shade the Palace of Light with fifty cubits to spare.

    The Magi'i Of Cyador

  • A single white-hulled fireship is moored at the lancer pier.

    The Magi'i Of Cyador


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  • "... generally an old vessel filled with combustible materials, and fitted with sheer-hooks to the yardarms, and grappling irons to hook and set fire to the enemy's ships.

    "Some English vessels ... sent among the Spanish ships composing the Invincible Armada in the year 1588, are said to have given rise to the terrible invention of fire-ships. However, Livy informs us that the Rhodians had invented a kind of fire-ships, which were used in junction with the Roman fleet, in their engagements with the Syrians, in the 190th year before Christ...."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 149

    This description goes on for about two more densely packed pages, including measurements, how many barrels of gunpowder and how much other combustible material to use, where to place it, and how to use the fire-ship to the best advantage. Here's a list of names of fire-ships (mostly in the British navy, 1748).

    October 11, 2008

  • Whahahahahaha!

    January 1, 2008

  • a diseased prostitute

    January 1, 2008