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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Navy
gunboatgun‧boat /ˈɡʌnbəʊt $ -boʊt/ noun [countable]  1 PMNa small ship that carries several large guns2 gunboat diplomacy
Examples from the Corpus
gunboatPerhaps it's something to do with being the only civil department still with the power to send in a gunboat.So perhaps Britain was about to send a gunboat to shell the Perrier works after all?The use of gunboats increased towards the end of the war.As they neared James River and caught sight of our gunboats, a cheer went up from each regiment.Business people no longer believed that gunboats and garrisons were vital for the protection and promotion of their activities.Our stragglers, their courage revived by sight of the gunboats, came up the hill, seeking their regiments.Marvels newsman Albert Richardson: On the gunboats not a man was killed, and only eight were wounded.
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