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From Middle English nave, navye, from Anglo-Norman, Old French navie, from Latin nāvigia < nāvigium, from Latin nāvigō, nāvis (boat), from Proto-Indo-European *néh₂us. Compare Ancient Greek ναῦς (naûs, ship), Persian ناو(nâv, boat, warship), Sanskrit नाव (nāva, ship), Old English nōwend (mariner, sailor).

Displaced native Old English sċiphere (literally ship army).


  • IPA(key): /ˈneɪvi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪvi


navy (countable and uncountable, plural navies)

  1. (countable) A country's entire sea force, including ships and personnel.
    People who get seasick easily shouldn't join the navy.
  2. (countable) A governmental department in charge of a country's sea force.
  3. (color, countable and uncountable) A dark blue colour, usually called navy blue.



navy (comparative more navy, superlative most navy)

  1. (color) Having the dark blue colour of navy blue.
    • 2006, Samantha Hunt, The Seas: A Novel, page 57:
      The cover is as navy as a bruise.
    • 2006, Carol Marinelli, Taken for His Pleasure, page 26:
      The morning shadow on his chin was almost as navy as his heavy-lidded eyes, his cheekbones exquisitely sculptured in his haughty face.
  2. (military) Belonging to the navy; typical of the navy.
    • 1943, Fletcher Pratt, The Navy has wings, page 167:
      [] there are chess ships and checker ships and those where acey-deucey is almost the only game, the sailors' own improved version of backgammon. Fliers from the seacoast of Iowa, anxious to be as navy as the rest, are usually the first to pick it up.
    • 1993, Robert A. Frezza, McLendon's Syndrome, page 299:
      Lieutenant Lindquist is navy through and through. I know she doesn't want to get out. Now, I know there's no way you can assign her to a navy ship, but there has to be something the navy can give her to keep her in space.
    • 1994, Harry Carey, Company of heroes: my life as an actor in the John Ford stock company, page 76:
      It was not what you would picture as a typical meeting with a naval officer. In fact, it was about as navy as an Abbott and Costello movie.
    • 2003, Jedwin Smith, Fatal treasure: greed and death, emeralds and gold, page 88:
      He was navy through and through; no-nonsense, humorless, and all spit and polish—every hair in its place, every thought gleaned from the manual compiled by brilliant sea dogs of long ago.
    • 2003, Edwin Palmer Hoyt; Thomas H Moorer, The Men of the Gambier Bay: The Amazing True Story, page 21:
      Goodwin was navy through and through.

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Unadapted borrowing from English navy. See also the related navío.



navy m (uncountable)

  1. navy (marine forces)

Usage notesEdit

According to Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) prescriptions, unadapted foreign words should be written in italics in a text printed in roman type, and vice versa, and in quotation marks in a manuscript text or when italics are not available. In practice, this RAE prescription is not always followed.