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

  • n. A student training to be a commissioned naval officer, especially a student at a naval academy.
  • n. Any of various fishes of the genus Porichthys, having several rows of light-producing organs along their bodies.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An officer of the lowest rank in several navies; especially, a trainee officer.
  • n. This officer rank.
  • n. A midshipman fish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. Formerly, a kind of naval cadet, in a ship of war, whose business was to carry orders, messages, reports, etc., between the officers of the quarter-deck and those of the forecastle, and render other services as required.
  • n. In the English naval service, the second rank attained by a combatant officer after a term of service as naval cadet. Having served three and a half years in this rank, and passed an examination, he is eligible to promotion to the rank of lieutenant.
  • n. In the United States navy, the lowest grade of officers in line of promotion, being students or graduates of the Naval Academy awaiting promotion to the rank of ensign.
  • n. An American marine fish of the genus Porichthys, allied to the toadfish; also called singingfish.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A warrant officer in the British navy of the lowest grade of officers in the line of promotion.
  • n. In the United States navy, formerly, an officer of corresponding rank and duties whose designation is now naval cadet.
  • n. In ichthyology, a batrachoid fish, Porichthys margaritatus: so called from the rows of round luminous bodies along the belly, like the buttons of a naval cadet's coat.
  • n. In 1902, Congress abolished the title of naval cadet in the United States navy and restored the title of midshipman. These officers are not commissioned officers, but receive appointments on probation, on the nomination of the President of the United States, of senators, or of congressmen, and the passage of an entrance examination to the Naval Academy. The course of instruction at the Naval Academy lasts four years and is followed by two years at sea, after which midshipmen are promoted to ensigns or second lieutenants of marines upon passing a final examination.

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

  • n. a temporary rank held by young naval officers in training


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • He did not take much notice of me; but soon afterwards Mr Bryan appeared and shook hands with me, and told him that I was a new midshipman, a friend of the captain's, and was very kind; and after a little time he called another midshipman, and desired him to take me down to the berth and to introduce me to our messmates.

    Marmaduke Merry A Tale of Naval Adventures in Bygone Days

  • He called a midshipman to show the boys to the cabin which was to be their quarters while on the Cumberland.

    The Boy Allies under Two Flags

  • Lieutenant Meade turned away with a shiver, and, calling a midshipman to take his place, he left the conning-tower, which was being struck continually by hissing splinters from bursting shells.

    Banzai! by Parabellum

  • "The Alliance is hauling off, sir!" called the midshipman of the mizzen-top.

    Richard Carvel

  • In November he renewed his acquaintance with Prince William Henry, whom he had known as a midshipman in 1782, and who now came to the Leeward Islands a post-captain, in command of the frigate

    The Life of Nelson

  • November he renewed his acquaintance with Prince William Henry, whom he had known as a midshipman in 1782, and who now came to the Leeward

    The Life of Nelson, Volume 1 (of 2) The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain

  • A midshipman was a being who traditionally had little but the exuberance of his spirits to make up for the discomforts of his lot.

    From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life

  • Then a feeling akin to jealousy came over him, as he found the rope drawn out vigorously, and it seemed to him that the midshipman was a far better swimmer and diver than he.

    The Lost Middy Being the Secret of the Smugglers' Gap

  • "I have done so more than once, Strake," said Syd, sternly, as he recalled the midshipman's action on the previous day, "but I can't do it again."

    Syd Belton The Boy who would not go to Sea

  • There he is, a little cadet de vaisseau, as the French call a midshipman, only ten years old, with a heart swelling between awe and exultation at the prospect of his first battle; but, fearless and glad, for is he not the son of the brave Casabianca, the flag-captain?

    A Book of Golden Deeds


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  • It's a fish that hums loud enough to be heard by humans.

    January 2, 2012