Definition of xebec in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈzēbek/
(also zebec)


A small three-masted Mediterranean sailing ship with lateen and sometimes square sails.
Example sentences
  • After a week or so of smooth sailing, they were becoming accustomed to life aboard the hundred-and-thirty foot long xebec.
  • The xebec, as in most ship types, possesses origins difficult to trace.
  • Captain John Frankford, commanding the 18-gun privateer Belvedere out of Philadelphia, had several spirited engagements with French xebecs and privateers off the Spanish coast in the spring of 1799 during the Quasi-War with France.


Mid 18th century: alteration (influenced by Spanish xabeque) of French chebec, via Italian from Arabic šabbāk.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: xe·bec

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.