Dreadnought Dread"nought`, n. 1. (Capitalized) A British battleship, completed in 1906 -- 1907, having an armament consisting of ten 12-inch guns mounted in turrets, and of twenty-four 12-pound quick-fire guns for protection against torpedo boats. This was the first battleship of the type characterized by a main armament of big guns all of the same caliber. She had a displacement of 17,900 tons at load draft, and a speed of 21 knots per hour. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

2. Any battleship having its main armament entirely of big guns all of one caliber. Since the Dreadnought was built, the caliber of the heaviest guns has increased from 12 in. to 131/2 in., 14 in., and 15 in., and the displacement of the largest batteships from 18,000 tons to 30,000 tons and upwards. The term {superdreadnought} is popularly applied to battleships with such increased displacement and gun caliber. [Also spelled {dreadnaught}.] [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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