Definition of xebec in English:


(also zebec)


  • A small three-masted Mediterranean sailing ship with lateen and square sails.

    • ‘Acclaimed naval artist Tony Gibbons illustrates every type of sailing warship from ships of the line, frigates, and sloops to privateers’ schooners, bomb ketches, and xebecs.’
    • ‘Many embraced Mohammedonism to escape slavery and at least some joined the xebecs, the swift three masted boats used by the pirates.’
    • ‘After a week or so of smooth sailing, they were becoming accustomed to life aboard the hundred-and-thirty foot long xebec.’
    • ‘The xebec, as in most ship types, possesses origins difficult to trace.’
    • ‘The officers of the xebecs knew they couldn't outmaneuver or outrun the British so they decided to scuttle their craft, toss their armament overboard and escape on foot to the north.’
    • ‘The awkward xebecs would never be able to outmanoeuvre the British vessels.’
    • ‘Captain John Frankford, commanding the 18-gun privateer Belvedere out of Philadelphia, had several spirited engagements with French xebecs and privateers off the Spanish coast in the spring of 1799 during the Quasi-War with France.’
    • ‘The frigates easily outgunned the pirates but had trouble blockading their swift, shore-hugging xebecs.’
    • ‘They were the final aria in the long opera which had first joined keel and canvas in the xebecs and dhows of the Mediterranean.’
    • ‘Ships in the game include ships of the line, sloops, xebecs, frigates, gun platforms, and bombards.’
    • ‘The Forte, however, having received intelligence that no other British ship than the Seahorse was cruising in the Archipelago, despatched a squadron, composed of two frigates, two corvette, two mortar-vessels, and some xebecs, upon the service in view.’


Mid 18th century: alteration (influenced by Spanish xabeque) of French chebec, via Italian from Arabic šabbāk.