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[ahr-mer] /ˈɑr mər/
any covering worn as a defense against weapons.
a suit of armor.
a metallic sheathing or protective covering, especially metal plates, used on warships, armored vehicles, airplanes, and fortifications.
mechanized units of military forces, as armored divisions.
Also called armament. any protective covering, as on certain animals, insects, or plants.
any quality, characteristic, situation, or thing that serves as protection:
A chilling courtesy was his only armor.
the outer, protective wrapping of metal, usually fine, braided steel wires, on a cable.
verb (used with object)
to cover or equip with armor or armor plate.
Also, especially British, armour.
Origin of armor
1250-1300; Middle English armo(u)r, armure < Anglo-French armour(e), armure Old French armëure < Latin armātūra armature; assimilated, in Middle English and Anglo-French, to nouns ending in -our -or2
Related forms
armorless, adjective
antiarmor, adjective
subarmor, noun
Can be confused
amour, armoire, armor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for armor
  • Bacteria coat your skin in an ultrathin protective armor, which helps keep harmful microbes at bay.
  • Fake or real, body armor exerts a pull on those inclined to flaunt it as a fashion statement.
  • While he played well that game, seeing the armor of the player get broken gives incentive to fans to chant.
  • Ships gave up on armor a long time ago in favor of radar guided point-defense.
  • But he pointed out that the new fossil contained partial hinges in its armor.
  • Birds usually keep the ants off their menu because of armor and a bad chemical taste.
  • It would also be great to see how something resembling a knight in shining armor swam.
  • Army didn't bother to properly test five million body armor plates that were supposed to protect soldiers on the battlefield.
  • It was rather strange looking: a flattened head and snout, lips but no teeth, and covered in a light-gray suit of armor.
  • The armor also makes it much harder for a predator to eat an armadillo.
British Dictionary definitions for armor


the US spelling of armour


any defensive covering, esp that of metal, chain mail, etc, worn by medieval warriors to prevent injury to the body in battle
the protective metal plates on a tank, warship, etc
(military) armoured fighting vehicles in general; military units equipped with these
any protective covering, such as the shell of certain animals
(nautical) the watertight suit of a diver
(engineering) permanent protection for an underwater structure
heraldic insignia; arms
(transitive) to equip or cover with armour
Word Origin
C13: from Old French armure, from Latin armātūra armour, equipment
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for armor

c.1300, "mail, defensive covering worn in combat," also "means of protection," from Old French armeure "weapons, armor" (12c.), from Latin armatura "arms, equipment," from arma "arms, gear" (see arm (n.2)). Figurative use from mid-14c.

Meaning "military equipment generally," especially siege engines, is late 14c. The word might have died with jousting if not for late 19c. transference to metal-shielded machinery beginning with U.S. Civil War ironclads (first attested in this sense in an 1855 report from the U.S. Congressional Committee on Naval Affairs).


mid-15c., from armor (n.). Related: Armored; armoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with armor
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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