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The massive, triangular Imperial starships that appear in the original Star Wars trilogy (Han calls them "the big Corellian ships") are well known to be "Star Destroyers." Since these vessels are clearly not capable of destroying any stars, the name seems to indicate that they are spacegoing equivalents of naval destroyers. As anyone who had played Battleship knows, destroyers (originally short for "torpedo boat destroyers") are the smallest class of heavy sea-going warships.

Cruisers are larger warships, although still smaller than battleships. However, as the Millennium Falcon is escaping from Tatooine, Han Solo identifies the first ship he sees chasing them as an "imperial cruiser." Is there an explanation in some secondary source of why he makes this apparent error?

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Han (and other characters) may have called the Star Destroyers "cruisers" since the Venator-class Star Destroyer used by the Republic during the Clone Wars (and a predecessor design to the Imperial Star Destroyer) was sometimes called the "Republic Attack Cruiser".

The use of the name "cruiser" in Star Wars refers to ships of a wide range of sizes, varying from a small "consular" cruiser like the one used at the beginning of Episode I (which could only carry dozens of passengers at most) to capital ships like the Mon Calamari cruisers. In Star Wars, cruisers are not strictly larger than destroyers.

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