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man of war

The man-of-war (pl. men-of-war; also man of war, man-o'-war, man o' war, or simply man) was a British Royal Navy expression for a powerful warship or frigate from the 16th to the 19th century. The term often refers to a ship armed with cannon and propelled primarily by sails, as opposed to a galley which is propelled primarily by oars. The man-of-war was developed in Portugal in the early 15th century from earlier roundships with the addition of a second mast to form the carrack. The 16th century saw the carrack evolve into the galleon and then the ship of the line. The evolution of the term has been given thus: Man-of-war. "A phrase applied to a line of battle ship, contrary to the usual rule in the English language by which all ships are feminine. It probably arose in the following manner: 'Men of war' were heavily armed soldiers.
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