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[buh-tal-yuh n] /bəˈtæl yən/
Military. a ground force unit composed of a headquarters and two or more companies or similar units.
an army in battle array.
Often, battalions. a large number of persons or things; force:
battalions of bureaucrats.
Origin of battalion
1580-90; < Middle French bataillon < Italian battaglione large squadron of soldiers, equivalent to battagli(a) battaglia + -one augmentative suffix
Related forms
subbattalion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for battalion
  • battalion commanders later insisted that the explosive noise was actually a sonic boom and that there was no need for alarm.
  • All but one of the victims were raw conscripts, part of a battalion on a training exercise.
  • Fox explains that the battalion used chat on the drive up to verify positions.
  • Trying to enforce it morally seems every bit as facetious to me as trying to enforce it with a battalion and a fence.
  • Full battalion of dock adapters for all iPod models included.
  • If it works, a battalion commander won't have to call headquarters for unmanned air support.
  • Each infantry battalion has a platoon of snipers, who typically work in small teams apart from the rifle companies.
  • On our patio, a battalion of barbecues stand at attention, ready to fire.
  • As your battalion approaches a bridge, you see that it's in enemy hands.
  • There were a lot of arrest orders ready and signed by the battalion commander, with a blank area.
British Dictionary definitions for battalion


a military unit comprised of three or more companies or formations of similar size
(usually pl) any large array
Word Origin
C16: from French bataillon, from Old Italian battaglione, from battaglia company of soldiers, battle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for battalion

1580s, from Middle French bataillon (16c.), from Italian battaglione "battle squadron," from diminutive of Vulgar Latin battalia "battle," from Latin bauttere "to beat" (see batter (v.)). Specific sense of "part of a regiment" is from 1708.

Madame, lui répondit-il, ne vous y fiez pas: j'ay tôujours vû Dieu do coté des gros Batallions. [E.Boursault, 1702]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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