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admiralty

Admiralty is the rank of an admiral. Is that clear? Not to me, but that’s what one of my dictionaries says. I thought admiral was the rank of an admiral. What does the word admiralty add to that?

In addition, the admiralty used to be the government department that administered Britain’s Royal Navy. The dictionary used the past tense, so I assume that’s no longer the case. I think Britain outsourced that role to a low-wage Asian country, but I’m probably mistaken about that.

The admiralty also refers to courts that have jurisdiction over maritime issues. Well, maybe not all maritime issues. I don’t think whales or sharks, for example, have ever been hauled before the admiralty to answer for their crimes.

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