fleet

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fleet1 / flēt/ • n. the largest group of naval vessels under one commander, organized for specific tactical or other purposes: an invasion fleet. ∎  (the fleet) a country's navy: the U.S. fleet. ∎  a group of ships sailing together, engaged in the same activity, or under the same ownership: the small port supports a fishing fleet. ∎  a number of ships, vehicles or aircraft operating together or under the same ownership: a fleet of ambulances took the injured to hospital. fleet2 • adj. fast and nimble in movement: a man of advancing years, but fleet of foot. DERIVATIVES: fleet·ly adv. fleet·ness n. fleet3 • n. Brit. a marshland creek, channel, or ditch. fleet4 • v. [intr.] poetic/lit. move or pass quickly: a variety of expressions fleeted across his face time may fleet and youth may fade. ∎  [tr.] pass (time) rapidly. ∎  fade away; be transitory: the cares of boyhood fleet away.

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fleetaccrete, beat, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cheat, cleat, clubfeet, compete, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discreet, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, treat, tweet, wheat •backbeat • heartbeat • deadbeat •breakbeat • offbeat • browbeat •downbeat • drumbeat • upbeat •sugar beet • Blackfeet • flatfeet •forefeet • exegete • polychaete •lorikeet • parakeet •athlete, biathlete, decathlete, heptathlete, pentathlete, triathlete •kick-pleat • paraclete • obsolete •gamete • crabmeat • sweetmeat •mincemeat • forcemeat • backstreet •concrete • window seat

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fleet3 †float OE.; (arch.) flow or glide away XII. OE. str. vb. flēotan float, swim = OS. fliotan (Du. vlieten), OHG. fliozan (G. fliessen), ON. fljóta float, flow :- Gmc. *fleutan; f. IE. *pleud- *plud-, extension of *pleu- *plou- plu- (repr. by Gr. pleîn :- *pleFfein sail, OSl. pluti, Skr. plávate swim, float, L. pluere rain); cf. FLY2. Surviving mainly in fleeting ppl. adj. †floating, swimming OE.; †shifting, inconstant XIII; passing quickly away XVI.

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fleet2 (dial.) run of water OE.; (hist.) The Fleet that flowing into the Thames between Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street; (hence) the prison near it XIII. OE. flēot (also flēote or -a), corr. to OFris. flēt, (M)Du. vliet, MHG. vliez, ON. fljót, f. Gmc. *fleut -FLEET3.

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Fleet

the naval force of a country; a number of ships belonging to a company; a number of persons; birds or other objects moving in company; a group of lorries or trucks.

Examples: fleet of aircraft; of barges, 1840; of birds, 1884; of colliers, 1865; of wild ducks, 1810; of knights, 1450; of lant-horns, 1675; of lorries; of motor vehicles; of mudhens; of ships.

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fleet1 naval force. OE. flēot (once) ship or ships coll., f. flēotan float, swim, FLEET3.

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fleet4 swift. XVI. prob. much older if — ON. fljótr, f. Gmc. *fleut- (see prec.).