A biblical allusion denoting a sea monster, variously thought of as a reptile or a whale; also a word used to describe anything huge of its kind.
Leviathan (SP-1326), ex SS Vaterland, built as Germany's largest passenger liner by Blohm und Voss, Hamburg, was launched 13 April 1913; seized at Hoboken, N.J., by the U.S. Shipping Board when the United States entered World War I, 6 April 1917; turned over to the custody of the U.S. Navy in June 1917; and commissioned July 1917, Capt. J. W. Oman in command.
Renamed Leviathan 6 September 1917, the former liner completed a trial cruise to Cuba and then reported for duty with the Cruiser and Transport Force. Operating between Hoboken and the European ports of Brest and Liverpool, she completed 10 round trips, carrying over 119,000 fighting men, before the armistice 11 November 1918. After that date she reversed the flow of men as she transported the veterans back to the United States with nine westward crossings ending 8 September 1919. Decommissioned 29 October 1919, she was returned the same day to the U.S. Shipping Board. Her reconditioning completed in June 1923, the Board turned her over to the United States Lines to operate on their behalf. United States Lines employed her in transatlantic passenger service until 10 December 1937 when she was sold for scrapping to a British firm. She was broken up at Rosyth, Scotland, 6 June 1938.