1. The commander in chief of a fleet.
2. A flag officer.
a. A commissioned rank in the US Navy or Coast Guard that is above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral.
b. One who holds the rank of admiral, Fleet Admiral, rear admiral, or vice admiral.
4. Any of various brightly colored nymphalid butterflies of the genera Limenitis and Vanessa, especially V. atalanta, having black wings with red bands.
5. Archaic The ship carrying an admiral; flagship.
[Middle English amiral, admiral, Muslim military commander, emir, admiral, ultimately (partly via Old French amiral) from Medieval Latin admīrālis, alteration (influenced by admīrārī, to wonder at, admire) of amīrālis, ultimately (possibly via Medieval Greek ameras, amerad-) from Arabic ’amīr, commander; see ʾmr in the Appendix of Semitic roots + Latin -ālis, noun suffix. Alternatively, both Old French amiral and Medieval Latin amīrālis ultimately from Arabic ’amīr-al-‘ālī, the high commander (’amīr + al, the + ‘ālī, high; see ʿly in the Appendix of Semitic roots).]
(click for a larger image)admiral
red admiral butterfly
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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