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Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers.



The word Admiral stems from the Arabic term Amir-al-bahr (commander of the sea). Crusaders learned the term during their encounters with the Arabs, perhaps as early as the 11th century. The Sicilians and later Genoese took the first two parts of the term and used them as one word, amiral, from their Catalan opponents. The French and Spanish gave their sea commanders similar titles. As the word was used by people speaking Latin or Latin-based languages it gained the "d" and endured a series of different endings and spellings leading to the English spelling "admyrall" in the 14th century and to "admiral" by the 16th century.

The word Admiral has today come to be almost exclusively associated with the highest naval rank in most of the world's navies, equivalent to the Army rank of (Full) General.

The rank of Admiral has also been subdivided into various grades, several of which are historically extinct while others are used by most present day navies. The generic terms for these naval equivalents of army generals is Flag Officer. Some navies have also used army-type titles for them, such as the Cromwellian General at sea. The Israeli Defence Forces do not have separate naval ranks, and the Hebrew rank Aluf denotes both a General and an Admiral.

Admiral ranks by seniority

The following are the various grades of Admiral, listed by seniority.

Admiral of the Navy | Flag Admiral
Admiral of the Fleet | Fleet Admiral | Grand Admiral
General Admiral
Lieutenant Admiral
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral | Counter Admiral
Commodore Admiral | Flotilla Admiral
Port Admiral

Several science fiction sources also give mention of the additional Admiral ranks of Sector Admiral, High Admiral, and Branch Admiral. None of these fictional Admiral ranks have ever been used, however, in an actual real world Navy. The rank of Fleet Admiral is also common in science fiction sources.

Admiral ranks by country

See also

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