Definition of galley in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɡali/

noun (plural galleys)

1 historical A low, flat ship with one or more sails and up to three banks of oars, chiefly used for warfare or piracy and often manned by slaves or criminals.
Example sentences
  • The ship was a fast galley powered by three banks of rowers pulling up to 200 oars.
  • The primary warships during this period progressed gradually from oared galleys to sailing vessels.
  • It's the beat generation, it's be-at, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like all time low-down, and like in ancient civilisations, the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat.
1.1A large open rowing boat kept on a warship for use by the captain.
Example sentences
  • Finally captured, the unknown galley's captain is about to be hung.
  • Unlike the fictional Robinson Crusoe, Selkirk had, at least initially, chosen his desert island over his privateer galley.
  • I had scarcely finished saying this when I saw white birds sweep down upon the enemy, and one of the galleys overturned, and all on board were drowned.
2The kitchen in a ship or aircraft.
Example sentences
  • Since it was a long-range aircraft, an efficient galley had to be designed and installed and this was placed behind the navigator's station and in front of the passenger compartment.
  • There are a navigation station and a quarter berth aft along the port side, and galley aft on the starboard side.
  • At the aft end of the cabin there is a port galley and starboard head.
3 (also galley proof) A printer’s proof in the form of long single-column strips, not in sheets or pages.
Galley from French galée denoting an oblong tray for holding set-up type
Example sentences
  • We'd write our marks on raw copy (type written on a page) until the pages were almost illegible, and then send it to be turned into a galley proof (one long line of printed up, typed up copy).
  • And it will happen in this, because stories look different at every stage along the way, from the manuscript to a galley to a page proof to the printed magazine.
  • Some manuscripts include rough and final drafts, and galley and page proofs.


Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin galea, from medieval Greek galaia, of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with galley

Ali, alley, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, dilly-dally, farfalle, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally, valley

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gal¦ley

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.