Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A number of warships operating together under one command.
  • noun A group of vessels or vehicles, such as taxicabs or fishing boats, owned or operated as a unit.
  • adjective Moving swiftly and nimbly. synonym: fast.
  • adjective Fleeting; evanescent.
  • intransitive verb To move or pass swiftly.
  • intransitive verb To fade; vanish.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To flow.
  • intransitive verb Obsolete To drift.
  • intransitive verb To cause (time) to pass quickly.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To alter the position of (tackle or rope, for example).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To skim, as cream from milk.
  • Nautical, to skim up fresh water from the surface of (the sea), as practised at the mouth of the Rhone, of the Nile, etc.
  • Swift of motion; moving or able to move with rapidity; rapid.
  • noun An arm of the sea; an inlet; a river or creek: now used only as an element in place-names: as, Northfleet, Southfleet, Fleetditch.
  • Light; superficially fruitful; thin; not penetrating deep, as soil.
  • Skimmed; skim: applied to skim-milk or to cheese made from it: as, fleet milk, fleet cheese.
  • To float.
  • To swim.
  • To sail; navigate.
  • To flow; run, as water; flow away.
  • To overflow; abound.
  • To gutter, as a candle.
  • To fly swiftly; flit, as a light substance; pass away quickly.
  • Nautical, to change place: said of men at work: as, to fleet forward or aft in a boat.
  • To fly swiftly over; skim over the surface of: as, a ship that fleets the gulf.
  • To cause to pass swiftly or lightly.
  • Nautical, to change the position of: as, to fleet a tackle (to change its position after the blocks are drawn together so as to use it again); to fleet the men aft (to order men to move further aft).
  • In a manner so as to affect only the surface; superficially.
  • noun A dialectal (Scotch) variant of flute.
  • noun A number of ships or other vessels, in company, under the same command, or employed in the same service, particularly in war or in fishing: as, a fleet of men-of-war, or of war-canoes; the fishing-fleet on the Banks; the fleet of a steamship company.
  • noun Specifically, a number of vessels of war organized for offense or defense under one commander, with subordinate commanders of single vessels and sometimes of squadrons; a naval armament.
  • noun In fishing, a single line of 100 hooks: so called when the bultow was introduced in Newfoundland (1846).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Swift in motion; moving with velocity; light and quick in going from place to place; nimble.
  • adjective Prov. Eng. Light; superficially thin; not penetrating deep, as soil.
  • transitive verb Prov. Eng. To take the cream from; to skim.
  • noun A number of vessels in company, especially war vessels; also, the collective naval force of a country, etc.
  • noun the senior aid of the admiral of a fleet, when a captain.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To sail; to float.
  • intransitive verb To fly swiftly; to pass over quickly; to hasten; to flit as a light substance.
  • intransitive verb (Naut.) To slip on the whelps or the barrel of a capstan or windlass; -- said of a cable or hawser.
  • intransitive verb (Naut.) To move or change in position; -- said of persons.
  • noun A flood; a creek or inlet; a bay or estuary; a river; -- obsolete, except as a place name, -- as Fleet Street in London.
  • noun A former prison in London, which originally stood near a stream, the Fleet (now filled up).
  • noun a clergyman of low character, in, or in the vicinity of, the Fleet prison, who was ready to unite persons in marriage (called Fleet marriage) at any hour, without public notice, witnesses, or consent of parents.
  • transitive verb To pass over rapidly; to skin the surface of.
  • transitive verb To hasten over; to cause to pass away lighty, or in mirth and joy.
  • transitive verb To draw apart the blocks of; -- said of a tackle.
  • transitive verb To cause to slip down the barrel of a capstan or windlass, as a rope or chain.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To move or change in position; used only in special phrases.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English flete, from Old English flēot, from flēotan, to float; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Probably from Old Norse fljōtr. V., from Middle English fleten, to drift, float, from Old English flēotan; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English flet, flete, from Old English flēot ("river, estuary")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English flet, flete, from Old English flēot ("ship")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fleten ("float"), from Old English flēotan ("float")

Examples

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