Definition of admiral in US English:



  • 1A commander of a fleet or naval squadron, or a naval officer of very high rank.

    • ‘In 1914 Beatty was one of the youngest admirals in the Royal Navy, and, as commander of the battle-cruiser squadron of the Grand Fleet, held one of the navy's most prestigious appointments.’
    • ‘It was as if he was planning his next move, with the subtlety and care of an admiral commanding a fleet of warships.’
    • ‘Gravely was the first Black to become an admiral and command a major naval fleet in the 1960s.’
    • ‘To copy correspondence, an admiral commanding an entire fleet might have two or three clerks, an aide/flag lieutenant, and occasionally a supply officer.’
    • ‘Admiral Jellicoe found fame in Word War One as the admiral who led the British Navy at the Battle of Jutland.’
    • ‘With the promotion of Grand Admiral Xeraux, he was now the admiral of the entire fleet.’
    • ‘Ben-Hur is sentenced to the galleys, but saves the life of the admiral of the Roman fleet, Quintus Arrius, when their ship sinks in battle.’
    • ‘In his third effort to convince the Athenians of the threat from Macedonia, Demosthenes finally won some support and was appointed admiral of the Athenian fleet.’
    • ‘When I went to speak to the admiral who sailed the fleet over, he asked me where I hailed from.’
    • ‘Captain, the admiral of the main fleet has contacted us and requests to speak with you.’
    • ‘Named after the admiral of the fleet, it was inevitable it would have a naval theme.’
    • ‘There the mayor attempted to arrest them, and Buckingham had to pull off his beard, confess his identity, and claim that as admiral of the fleet he was off to arrange an impromptu inspection at Dover.’
    • ‘It was the same reason that prompted the Army and Navy to cashier the admiral and the general in command at Pearl Harbor.’
    • ‘The Mexican government apologized, but this wasn't good enough for the admiral commanding the local U.S. naval squadron.’
    • ‘To this end, each morning, the admiral in command of Second Fleet requires an operational brief, known as the Commander's Update.’
    • ‘In 1421, the Ming emperor Zhu Di dispatched four great fleets under admirals Hong Bao, Zhou Man, Zhou Wen, and Yang Qing to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.’
    • ‘During that period, Japanese admirals or Commanders-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet of Japan had great power, more so that the present Prime Ministers.’
    • ‘Franco-American institutional rivalry led to the initial dispatch of two naval forces to the Adriatic, one under Nato and one under WEU, each commanded by Italian admirals.’
    1. 1.1 A commissioned officer of very high rank in the US Navy or Coast Guard, ranking above a vice admiral.
      • ‘I can do it, I can do it, but why don't you get the Admiral to put you in,’
      • ‘The Admiral and his men could carry their arms and ammunition.’
      • ‘Below him was a Supreme Naval Staff, headed from 1938 by Admiral L. Galler.’
      • ‘Poindexter was an Admiral in the United States Navy and became National Security Advisor to President Reagan from 1985 until 1986.’
      • ‘Can the British, do you think, pull this off, Admiral?’
      • ‘Thus a legend was made: " On the sea there was Admiral Yi Sun-shin and on the land there was the General Kwak Chae-u."’
      • ‘Art, the Admiral wants you to get out of there.’
      • ‘The Admiral founded the Royal Thai Naval Academy and the Marine Engineering School.’
      • ‘‘The Corp feels you two are the best men for the job,’ the Admiral said.’
      • ‘The Admiral was not as jovial about it as Solor was.’
      • ‘Retired Admiral O S Dawson lived on Charles Campell Road in Cox Town in his youth.’
      • ‘It is code-named Clasciaris, and is the only fleet not to be controlled by an Admiral.’
      • ‘Up to 1916, the German High Seas Fleet had been commanded by Admiral von Poul.’
      • ‘The Consul and the Admiral would lose a huge asset.’
      • ‘Either way, the Admiral had no say in the matter.’
      • ‘Have the Admiral and the General reported in?’
      • ‘HMS Portland was launched in 1999 by Lady Brigstocke, wife of the then Second Sea Lord, Admiral Sir John Brigstocke.’
      • ‘He says in a low, dark tone, saluting the Captain and Admiral.’
      • ‘He was Benjamin Bradley, a retired Admiral of the old United States Navy.’
      • ‘The Admiral likes going to the Royal Thai Navy Course at Sattahip.’
    2. 1.2
  • 2with modifier A butterfly that has dark wings with bold colorful markings.

    Several species in the subfamilies Limenitidinae and Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae. See red admiral, white admiral

    • ‘Another butterfly that is rarely seen is white admiral, a beautiful butterfly that spends a lot of time feeding on honeydew at the tops of trees.’
    • ‘The White Admiral however is smaller, far more graceful and delicate in flight.’
    • ‘If you live near a park or wooded area, it may provide habitat for Mourning Cloaks, admirals, and tiger swallowtails, who will foray into your yard for nectar.’
    • ‘There is often an extreme contrast between full sunshine and deep shadow, as can be seen in the photograph of the White Admiral.’


Middle English (denoting an emir or Saracen commander): from Old French amiral, admirail, via medieval Latin from Arabic 'amīr ‘commander’ (from 'amara ‘to command’). The ending -al was from Arabic -al- ‘of the’, used in titles (e.g. 'amīr-al-'umarā ‘ruler of rulers’), later assimilated to the familiar Latinate suffix -al.