Definition of frigate in English:



  • 1A warship with a mixed armament, generally lighter than a destroyer (in the US navy, heavier) and of a kind originally introduced for convoy escort work.

    • ‘Hence only sixteen frigates and two support ships - Fort Victoria and Fort George - were constructed.’
    • ‘The troop carrying convoy would then sail from southern English ports protected by an escort of frigates and corvettes.’
    • ‘It would be three frigates against one destroyer.’
    • ‘Predominantly it was the destroyers and frigates of the Navy that served.’
    • ‘Ingalls has already prepared two U.S. Navy frigates for transfer.’
    • ‘It will involve more than 60 ships and submarines, including the American carrier USS Enterprise, 20 frigates and destroyers and 54 aircraft.’
    • ‘For example, say you are a commander in charge of a battle group consisting of three destroyers and six assault frigates.’
    • ‘Perhaps the best example of this is the ability of Canadian frigates and destroyers to operate in U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy group, which will include a submarine, a frigate, a destroyer and two support vessels, will set out from Portsmouth on Saturday.’
    • ‘Four different frigates and destroyers, as well as seven auxiliaries, had supported the operation.’
    • ‘The Seahawk is operational on US Navy frigates, destroyers and guided missile cruisers.’
    • ‘Between six and ten ships - usually destroyers, frigates and tankers - are attached to the Force for up to eight months.’
    • ‘In March 2004, the Royal Netherlands Navy signed a contract for the transfer of two M-Class frigates to the Chilean Navy.’
    • ‘At sea, he served in a battleship, an aircraft carrier, in cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and a minesweeper.’
    • ‘Cruisers, destroyers, and frigates are collectively referred to as surface combatants.’
    • ‘By 2020, the Navy will have no frigates left, and all its destroyers will be large and expensive.’
    • ‘The size of the active fleet is also being steadily cut, with just 32 frigates and destroyers in service.’
    • ‘Senator Hill said that while the focus of the maritime campaign had shifted to carrier air operations, there was still a requirement for frigates to conduct some escort and patrol duties.’
    • ‘Other vessels included a Ticonderoga class cruiser, Arleigh Burke class destroyers, guided missile frigates and two Los Angeles class nuclear submarines.’
    • ‘Up to ten destroyers or frigates are normally attached to the Force for up to six months, with Command rotating on an annual basis among the nations contributing ships to the Force.’
    1. 1.1historical A sailing warship of a size and armament just below that of a ship of the line.
      • ‘The classic sailing frigate was a fast and powerful warship, and was one of the most successful and charismatic ship designs of the age.’
      • ‘By 1780 there were 86 frigates and 79 ships of the line in French service, and the annual cost of the navy almost quadrupled between 1776 and 1783.’
      • ‘In the days of the old sailing frigates, this was the announcement of an impending attack!’
      • ‘‘Sir, we board small frigates and pirate ships, not super-sized battleships.’’


Late 16th century (denoting a light, fast boat which was rowed or sailed): from French frégate, from Italian fregata, of unknown origin.