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.

    • ‘The Seahawk is operational on US Navy frigates, destroyers and guided missile cruisers.’
    • ‘It would be three frigates against one destroyer.’
    • ‘The Royal Navy group, which will include a submarine, a frigate, a destroyer and two support vessels, will set out from Portsmouth on Saturday.’
    • ‘Ingalls has already prepared two U.S. Navy frigates for transfer.’
    • ‘The size of the active fleet is also being steadily cut, with just 32 frigates and destroyers in service.’
    • ‘Hence only sixteen frigates and two support ships - Fort Victoria and Fort George - were constructed.’
    • ‘For example, say you are a commander in charge of a battle group consisting of three destroyers and six assault frigates.’
    • ‘Four different frigates and destroyers, as well as seven auxiliaries, had supported the operation.’
    • ‘It will involve more than 60 ships and submarines, including the American carrier USS Enterprise, 20 frigates and destroyers and 54 aircraft.’
    • ‘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 troop carrying convoy would then sail from southern English ports protected by an escort of frigates and corvettes.’
    • ‘Between six and ten ships - usually destroyers, frigates and tankers - are attached to the Force for up to eight months.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps the best example of this is the ability of Canadian frigates and destroyers to operate in U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Predominantly it was the destroyers and frigates of the Navy that served.’
    1. 1.1historical A sailing warship of a size and armament just below that of a ship of the line.
      • ‘In the days of the old sailing frigates, this was the announcement of an impending attack!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Sir, we board small frigates and pirate ships, not super-sized battleships.’’
      • ‘The classic sailing frigate was a fast and powerful warship, and was one of the most successful and charismatic ship designs of the age.’


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