Definition of galleon in English:



  • A sailing ship in use (especially by Spain) from the 15th to the 18th centuries, originally as a warship, later for trade. Galleons were typically square-rigged and had three or more decks and masts.

    ‘a Spanish treasure galleon wrecked off the Florida Keys’
    • ‘The fleet of 130 ships - including 22 fighting galleons - sailed in a crescent shape.’
    • ‘The ostensible plot concerns their attempts to recover a treasure trove from a galleon wrecked off the coast of Florida in the 16th century; while Twang burrows into archives in Italy, Zach hunts for clues in and around Miami.’
    • ‘Gecko shows off a collection of amphora necks and, with the help of some local red wine, tells us tales of treasures from sunken Greek boats and Spanish galleons and about the wrecks of aircraft from World War Two.’
    • ‘The Spanish islands and their natural harbors became vital hubs of shipping and trade for the galleons that carried the wealth of the new world to Europe.’
    • ‘On just day two, there was a fleet of World War One battleships from Scapa Flow, and a brace of 19th century treasure galleons from the Scilly Isles.’
    • ‘Santa Rosa - The Rich Mountain - was first mined for a colonial interest in its silver - most of which ballasted galleons sailed back to Spain.’
    • ‘With him came fleet of 23 caravels, galleons and war barks.’
    • ‘Again, that's great stuff for kids - it's pirates, it's pistols, it's cutlasses, it's galleons and sloops and swords.’
    • ‘Other artists on display include Constable Michelangelo, Holbein and Rembrandt, as well as more contemporary artists; jewels rescued from a Spanish galleon of the Armada, and the last letter written by Mary.’
    • ‘Modern-day pirates have traded in galleons and flintlocks for high-speed motor launches and semi-automatic rifles.’
    • ‘Spanish and Portuguese colonies stretched across south, central, and southern North America while Spain's galleons crossed the Pacific to the Philippines.’
    • ‘These people were allowed to trade with the galleons in exchange for welcoming fourteen Franciscan missionaries on their land.’
    • ‘The first bearer of the name Reynolds came to our shores with the Spanish Armada and the galleon on which he travelled was wrecked on the North coast of Sligo.’
    • ‘A year later, secure in the north, Gloriana's licensed pirates in their gun-crammed galleons, aided by a storm, saw off the Spanish Armada.’
    • ‘By mid-century, Spanish galleons loaded with treasure sailed annually for Europe, becoming prey to pirates, many of them English, based in the Bahamas.’
    • ‘And in pursuit of those dreams the head of this Communist state dives in search of treasure, on two 17th century galleons that he has made his personal property.’
    • ‘If diving for wrecks turns you on, Bermuda is a veritable treasure trove of maritime disaster, with a wreck collection including 16th century Spanish galleons, warships and a luxury transatlantic liner.’
    • ‘The Model 75 galleons had standardized deck layouts, and few customers made any changes.’
    • ‘This picturesque town has been a haven for ships - merchantmen, naval vessels, and buccaneer galleons - since the 1600s.’
    • ‘In 1565 a Spanish galleon laden with cinnamon sailed from Manila to Mexico, finally linking up Spain's American colonies with the markets of south-east Asia.’


Early 16th century: either via Middle Dutch from French galion, from galie ‘galley’, or from Spanish galeón.