Definition of bireme in US English:



  • An ancient warship with two files of oarsmen on each side.

    • ‘The liburnae must have been different from earlier biremes in some way.’
    • ‘After a time these vessels were superseded by biremes, which were decked, had masts and sails, and were impelled by rowers sitting at two different elevations, as already explained.’
    • ‘As the Greek name implies, the trireme had three rows of rowers on each side, developed from earlier Greek and Phoenician biremes.’
    • ‘It could be used as a fighting platform, or, as in the Phoenician biremes of Sennacherib and Sargon, as accommodation for passengers though this does not seem to have been the practice in Greece.’
    • ‘Gallus, notwithstanding, built not less than eighty biremes and triremes and galleys.’
    • ‘Evidence about biremes is relatively scarce, and so it is not clear exactly how the banks of rowers were arranged, but the bireme seems to have been developed to provide a more powerful vessel.’
    • ‘These new biremes were cheaper than the trireme, and required only about 100 rowers.’
    • ‘There is a great deal of useful material here, such as how the Romans seem to have conducted an ‘amphibious assault’ and the frequency that each type of warship (quinqueremes, biremes, liburinians, etc.) was found in the Roman fleets.’
    • ‘From ancient biremes to gigantic aircraft carriers, from mighty steamers to futuristic submarines, this book is filled with the wonders of seafaring vessels past and present.’
    • ‘Monoremes contained one bank of oars; biremes, two banks; triremes, three; quadriremes, four; quinqueremes, five; and so on.’
    • ‘In this spectacle thirty beaked ships, triremes or biremes, and a large number of smaller vessels met in conflict.’
    • ‘It was a special type of bireme, made in such a way so that could be used as a tanker and as a battle ship in the same time.’
    • ‘A fast and fearsome battleship, the bireme was manned by 44 oarsmen working two banks of oars.’
    • ‘The biremes were slimmer and thus more maneuverable, but also clearly less structurally sound.’
    • ‘The trireme had 3 banks of oars, and a full spar deck instead of the centre-line gangway of the early bireme.’
    • ‘For that purpose, Caesar had his men build an entire fleet of biremes from scratch in less than two months.’
    • ‘The famous wall-paintings of biremes from the House of the Vettii in Pompeii show biremes, but there is not sufficient detail to specify the type of bireme.’
    • ‘Gaius embraced his brother warmly as the men stood on the dock where two biremes, rigged and prepared to sail, were moored.’
    • ‘Augustus was also very proud of the shows he offered to the Romans and one of the statements describes a naval battle on the Tiber which involved more than 30 triremes and biremes.’
    • ‘I remember reading a book called ‘When China Ruled The Seas’ and I think boats like triremes and biremes only came about in China after the western counterparts in the med.’


Late 16th century: from Latin biremis, from bi- ‘having two’ + remus ‘oar’.