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An armed yacht was a yacht that was armed with weapons and was typically in the service of a navy. The word "yacht" ("hunter"; Dutch "jacht"; German "jagd", literally meaning "to hunt") was originally applied to small, fast and agile naval vessels suited to piracy and to employment by navies and coast guards against smugglers and pirates. Vessels of this type were adapted to racing by wealthy owners. The origin of civilian yachts as naval vessels, with their speed and maneuverability, made them useful for adaptation to their original function as patrol vessels. In the United States Navy armed yachts were typically private yachts expropriated for government use in times of war. Armed yachts served as patrol vessels during the Spanish–American War and the World Wars. In the latter conflicts, armed yachts were used as patrol vessels, convoy escorts, and in anti-submarine duties. In the United States, yachts were purchased from their owners with the owners given an option to repurchase their yacht at the close of hostilities.