AskDefine | Define broadside

Dictionary Definition

broadside adj : toward a full side; "a broadside attack"


1 an advertisement (usually printed on a page or in a leaflet) intended for wide distribution; "he mailed the circular to all subscribers" [syn: circular, handbill, bill, broadsheet, flier, flyer, throwaway]
2 a speech of violent denunciation [syn: tirade, philippic]
3 all of the armament that is fired from one side of a warship
4 the whole side of a vessel from stem to stern; "the ship was broadside to the dock"
5 the simultaneous firing of all the armament on one side of a warship adv : with a side facing an object; "the train hit the truck broadside"; "the wave caught the canoe broadside and capsized it" v : collide with the broad side of; "her car broad-sided mine"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. One side of a ship above the water line; all the guns on one side of a warship; their simultaneous firing.
  2. In the context of "by extension": A forceful attack, be it written or spoken.
  3. A large sheet of paper, printed on one side and folded.
  4. The printed lyrics of a folk song or ballad; a broadsheet.


*1993 : Although slaveholders managed - through a combination of political compromise and ideological broadside - to contain the threat of a major anti-slavery compaign by fellow Southerners, planters could never be totally sure of non-slaveholders' loyalty to the social order. - Peter Kolchin, American Slavery (Penguin History, paperback edition, 34)


one side of a warship


  1. Sideways; with the side turned to the direction of some object.


to broadside
  1. To collide with something sideways on


Extensive Definition

thumb|[[USS Iowa (BB-61)|USS Iowa firing her guns broadside (1984). Note the water displaced beneath the bores.]] A broadside is the side of a ship; the battery of cannon on one side of a warship; or their simultaneous (or near simultaneous) fire in naval warfare.

In older naval warfare

Broadsides were quite different during older naval warfare, in the age of sail. An 18th century man of war like the HMS Victory had cannons that were only accurate at short range. The penetrating power of naval guns was mediocre; which meant that the thick hull of a well-built wooden ship could only be pierced at short ranges. These wooden ships sailed closer and closer towards each other until cannon fire would be effective. Each tried to be the first to fire a broadside, often giving one side a decisive headstart in the battle when it crippled the other ship.

As a measurement

Additionally, the term broadside is a measurement of a vessel's maximum simultaneous fire power which can be delivered upon a single target, due to the fact that this concentration is usually obtained by firing a broadside. This is calculated by multiplying the shell weight of the ship's main armament shells times the number of barrels that can be brought to bear. If some turrets are incapable of firing to either side of the vessel, only the maximum number of barrels which can fire to one side or the other are counted. For example, the American Iowa-class battleships carry a main armament of nine 16-inch main guns in turrets which can all be trained to a single broadside. Each 16-inch shell weighs 2,700 pounds, which when multiplied by nine (the total number of barrels in all three turrets) equals a total of 24,300 pounds (11,022 kg). Thus, an Iowa-class battleship has a broadside of 12 short tons (11.0 tonnes), the weight of shells that she can theoretically land on a target in a single firing.


broadside in German: Breitseite
broadside in Latvian: Borts
broadside in Polish: Salwa burtowa

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antiaircraft barrage, aside, askance, askant, asquint, bank, barrage, beam, bombardment, border, box barrage, breadthwise, broad side foremost, broadside on, broadways, broadwise, burst, cannonade, cannonry, cheek, chop, coast, crabwise, creeping barrage, depthwise, drumfire, edgeway, edgeways, edgewise, emergency barrage, enfilade, flank, fusillade, glancingly, hail, hand, handedness, haunch, hip, jowl, laterad, laterality, laterally, many-sidedness, mortar barrage, multilaterality, normal barrage, on its side, on the beam, planking, profile, quarter, right and left, salvo, shore, shower, side, sideling, sidelong, sideward, sidewards, sideway, sideways, sidewise, siding, sidling, spray, standing barrage, storm, temple, through, unilaterality, volley, widthways, widthwise
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