The Spanish Armada fighting the English navy at the Battle of Gravelines in 1588
British and Danish navies in the line of battle at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
A flotilla from the Indian Navy's Western Fleet escorts the aircraft carriers INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya through the Arabian Sea in 2014.

A navy or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It includes anything conducted by surface ships, amphibious ships, submarines, and seaborne aviation, as well as ancillary support, communications, training, and other fields. The strategic offensive role of a navy is projection of force into areas beyond a country's shores (for example, to protect sea-lanes, ferry troops, or attack other navies, ports, or shore installations). The strategic defensive purpose of a navy is to frustrate seaborne projection-of-force by enemies. The strategic task of the navy also may incorporate nuclear deterrence by use of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Naval operations can be broadly divided between riverine and littoral applications (brown-water navy), open-ocean applications (blue-water navy), and something in between (green-water navy), although these distinctions are more about strategic scope than tactical or operational division.

In most nations, the term "naval", as opposed to "navy", is interpreted as encompassing all maritime military forces, e.g., navy, naval infantry/marine corps, and coast guard forces.

Etymology and meanings

First attested in English in the early 14th century,[1] the word "navy" came via Old French navie, "fleet of ships", from the Latin navigium, "a vessel, a ship, bark, boat",[2] from navis, "ship".[3] The word "naval" came from Latin navalis, "pertaining to ship";[4] cf. Greek ναῦς (naus), "ship",[5] ναύτης (nautes), "seaman, sailor".[6] The earliest attested form of the word is in the Mycenaean Greek compound word 𐀙𐀄𐀈𐀗, na-u-do-mo (*naudomoi), "shipbuilders", written in Linear B syllabic script.[n 1]

The word formerly denoted fleets of both commercial and military nature. In modern usage "navy" used alone always denotes a military fleet, although the term "merchant navy" for a commercial fleet still incorporates the non-military word sense. This overlap in word senses between commercial and military fleets grew out of the inherently dual-use nature of fleets; centuries ago, nationality was a trait that unified a fleet across both civilian and military uses. Although nationality of commercial vessels has little importance in peacetime trade other than for tax avoidance, it can have greater meaning during wartime, when supply chains become matters of patriotic attack and defense, and when in some cases private vessels are even temporarily converted to military vessels. The latter was especially important, and common, before 20th-century military technology existed, when merely adding artillery and naval infantry to any sailing vessel could render it fully as martial as any military-owned vessel. Such privateering has been rendered obsolete in blue-water strategy since modern missile and aircraft systems grew to leapfrog over artillery and infantry in many respects; but privateering nevertheless remains potentially relevant in littoral warfare of a limited and asymmetric nature.

Other Languages
Ænglisc: Flothere
العربية: قوات بحرية
aragonés: Armata
asturianu: Armada
azərbaycanca: Dəniz qüvvələri
Bân-lâm-gú: Hái-kun
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Вайскова-марскія сілы
bosanski: Ratna mornarica
brezhoneg: Morlu
català: Armada
Cymraeg: Llynges
dansk: Marine
Deutsch: Marine
eesti: Merevägi
español: Armada
Esperanto: Mararmeo
euskara: Itsas armada
français: Marine de guerre
Frysk: Marine
Gàidhlig: Cabhlach
ગુજરાતી: ઢાંચો:Navy
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: नौसेना (नौदल)
한국어: 해군
हिन्दी: नौसेना
hrvatski: Ratna mornarica
Bahasa Indonesia: Angkatan laut
íslenska: Sjóher
italiano: Marina militare
עברית: חיל ים
Kiswahili: Jeshi la majini
latviešu: Kara flote
Lëtzebuergesch: Krichsmarine
lietuvių: Karo laivynas
македонски: Воена морнарица
മലയാളം: നാവികസേന
Bahasa Melayu: Tentera laut
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ရေတပ်
नेपाल भाषा: जलसेना
日本語: 海軍
norsk: Marine
norsk nynorsk: Marine
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Harbiy-dengiz floti
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਜਲ ਸੈਨਾ
پنجابی: سمندری فوج
Plattdüütsch: Marine
português: Marinha
română: Marină
Scots: Navy
Simple English: Navy
slovenčina: Námorníctvo
slovenščina: Vojna mornarica
Soomaaliga: Ciidanka Badda
српски / srpski: Ратна морнарица
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Ratna mornarica
Basa Sunda: Angkatan Laut
suomi: Merivoimat
svenska: Örlogsflotta
Tagalog: Hukbong dagat
தமிழ்: கடற்படை
తెలుగు: నౌకాదళం
اردو: بحریہ
Tiếng Việt: Hải quân
ייִדיש: פלאט
粵語: 海軍
中文: 海军