also battle-ship, "powerful warship designed to fight in a line of battle," 1794, shortened from line-of-battle ship (1705), a ship of the line, one large enough to take part in a main attack (formerly one of 74-plus guns); from battle (n.) + ship (n.). Later in the U.S. Navy it was used of a class of ships that carried guns of the largest size. They were rendered obsolete by seaborne air power and guided missiles; the last in the U.S. Navy was decommissioned in 2006. Battleship-gray as a color is attested from 1916. Fighter and bomber airplanes in World War I newspaper articles sometimes were called battleplanes, but it did not catch.
updated on September 10, 2022