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[ahr-til-uh-ree] /ɑrˈtɪl ə ri/
mounted projectile-firing guns or missile launchers, mobile or stationary, light or heavy, as distinguished from small arms.
the troops or the branch of an army concerned with the use and service of such weapons.
the science that treats of the use of such weapons.
Origin of artillery
1350-1400; Middle English artil(le)rie, artelry, art(u)ry armaments, ballistic engines < Anglo-French, Middle French artillerie, equivalent to Old French artill(ier) to equip, arm, alteration, by association with art art1, of atill(i)er to set in order, put on armor (< Vulgar Latin *apticulāre, derivative of Latin aptāre to put on (armor, ornaments, etc.; see adapt); -i- for expected -ei- perhaps by association with atirier; see attire) + -erie -ery Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for artillery


guns, cannon, howitzers, mortars, etc, of calibre greater than 20 mm
troops or military units specializing in using such guns
the science dealing with the use of guns
devices for discharging heavy missiles, such as catapults or slings
Word Origin
C14: from Old French artillerie, from artillier to equip with weapons, of uncertain origin
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 artillery

late 14c., "warlike munitions," from Anglo-French artillerie, Old French artillerie (14c.), from artillier "to provide with engines of war" (13c.), which probably is from Medieval Latin articulum "art, skill," diminutive of Latin ars (genitive artis) "art." But some would connect it with Latin articulum "joint," and still others with Old French atillier "to equip," altered by influence of arte. Sense of "engines for discharging missiles" (catapults, slings, bows, etc.) is from late 15c.; that of "ordnance, large guns" is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for artillery



  1. A weapon or weapons, esp a handgun carried by a criminal; heat (1900s+ Underworld)
  2. A drug user's hypodermic syringe

Related Terms

heavy artillery

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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artillery in the Bible

1 Sam. 20:40, (Heb. keli, meaning "apparatus;" here meaning collectively any missile weapons, as arrows and lances. In Revised Version, "weapons"). This word is derived from the Latin artillaria = equipment of war.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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