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MERCHANTMAN. A ship or vessel employed in a merchant's service. This term is used in opposition to a ship of war.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
On the afternoon of March 25, off Blyth, a flight of Heinkel 111s swooped from cloud cover, a merchantman's nightmare.
Despite the title's wording, this is really a meticulously researched narrative of the short career of the merchant submarine U-Deutschland, both as a merchantman from mid-1916 and after her hasty conversion into a U-Cruiser, the U-155, in early 1917.
On her best day, in company of the Polish ship ORP Blyskawica, she sank two submarine chasers, UJ-1420 and UJ-1421, and a merchantman. Two other cargo ships were left ablaze.
EAnd Anchor Hoeten in Dale, Pembrokeshire has just that, thanks to a 17ft by 14ft anchor on its west lawn which is from an early 18th century merchantman wrecked off St Bride's Bay.
Richard died a year later, when the armed merchantman SS Thames was torpedoed off the east coast of England.
I first met Des about 40 years ago in British European Airways, BEA, and we played football together in the Merchantman Team.
Until very recently there has been great difficulties in obtaining stamps, paper, &c., and I have found that all letters not properly stamped, that is to say, unless they have three upon them, and sent via France, are sent per sailing vessel or any other merchantman bound for home,and thereby are much delayed and frequently lost.
Divers found the wreck of what was probably a Spanish merchantman out of Seville off Punta Cana on the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic in 2011.
Ritchie argued that a continued presence was essential and managed to get funds to purchase an ice-protected merchantman, the Anita Dan from Denmark.
He was in command of Jervis Bay, an armed merchantman, convoying a group of ships.
Public opinion in India is particularly sensitive on this score because of the Enrica Lexie incident off Kerala where Italian marines aboard a merchantman shot and killed a couple of Indian fishermen.
Found in 1965 in waters off of Cyprus, the remains of a Greek merchantman wreck over two millenia old provided the beginning of the new science of nautical archaeology.