Battleship, warship, military vessel, gunship

I’m sick of always having 艦船、軍艦、戦艦etc. popping up in my reviews forever. Can I set my synonym to ‘battleship’ for all of them or is there really a difference?


Yes. There are multiple types of warships of which a battleship is a specific type. A gunship, unless this is meant to be a gunboat, is actually a type of military aircraft.


Yeah, but the question was “are they that different”? for me (non English native that completely doesn’t care about war) there is absolutely no difference between warship and battleship - they are just “ships that make boom-boom”.

@jpace335 do you know the difference between those in your native language? do you actually care? That should answer your question.


Which is why I answered that a battleship is a type of warship, but not all warships are a battleship. A gunboat or an aircraft carrier are both warships but they are not battleships, for example.

Also, as I mentioned, a gunship cannot be a battleship since it’s an aircraft despite having “ship” in the name. So equating a plane with a ship is a bit weird. :man_shrugging:

If pictures are more helpful. This is a gunship:

This is a battleship:

But as you can see, this aircraft carrier is also a type of warship but is clearly not the same thing as a battleship:

If you are actually interested (you may not be) this is a good article on various types of warships from Wikipedia:

Ultimately it’s up to you to add whatever synonyms you want if you don’t really care, but to be strictly accurate, no, battleship would not be a proper synonym for all those words. Least of all as a synonym for a gunship.


The question that OP asked was “is there really a difference?”, sure, but I suspect the question that was intended was “is there any situation where I, a non-enthusiast, will ever really need to know the difference?” :stuck_out_tongue:


Honestly, they probably won’t ever care which is why I said they can do whatever they feel, but I figured I’d at least give them examples of what the various things actually are in case they truly wanted to know how the various things are different. If nothing else, someone who actually does care and didn’t know that a gunship was actually a plane might find the info interesting. :man_shrugging:


Aye, I was certainly picturing a ship. I’m sure that’s been pointed out to me at least once in the past…

On closer inspection, OP seems to be enough of an enthusiast to come up with new terms, because neither “gunship” nor 戦艦 are actually on WaniKani. :stuck_out_tongue:

“Gunship” in Japanese, incidentally, is ガンシップ, while “gunboat” is 砲艦.


I’d say yes. When are you ever going to use those terms anyway?

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Watching or reading something like 銀河英雄伝説? Same with military ranks. :sweat_smile: Or anything involving something like WWII?

I admit, though, it’s probably a bit of a niche genre for most people.


For 艦艇 specifically, native dictionary entries tend to emphasise that it covers a military-purpose vessel of any size, both large and small. (Which makes sense in terms of its component kanji.)

My usual rule of thumb is that if I don’t know or care about fine distinctions between the English terms, then I’m happy to add broad synonyms even if they’re slightly incorrect.

If I do care about the distinction, then I usually try to find Japanese-language definitions and usage guides, to get a better mental picture of how the words are actually understood by Japanese people (or at least the subset of Japanese people who are pedantic enough to care).


Thanks, good answers all. Personally, I am quite fond of military history and Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but frankly I answered my own question: I just can’t be assed for these reviews.


‘gunship’ was my brain mixing up the 軍 in 軍艦 with ‘gun’ in English.


I treat all the military ranks similarly. I don’t know what the hierarchy is in English, so all that matters is knowing it’s some kind of military rank.


At least in Japanese, considering the prefixes 少佐, 中佐, 大佐, you know the ranking between the three.

I do the same for all baseball terms (pitcher’s stuff, …) as I don’t even know the basic baseball rules.


I feel your pain!! 艦船 and 軍艦 have been giving me a lot of trouble recently. ARG.

My general rule is: If I don’t know the difference in my native language, then I don’t really care anymore after getting them wrong 600 times. It’s just a ship used for wars.


yeah I hate that too


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