A cartridge for white smoke is waiting if the vote proves decisive.
He writes that he discovered thousands of cartridge casings on the barricades, apparently fired from the police squads.
1570s, cartage, corruption of French cartouche "a full charge for a pistol," originally wrapped in paper (16c.), from Italian cartoccio "roll of paper," an augmentative form of Medieval Latin carta "paper" (see card (n.)). The notion is of a roll of paper containing a charge for a firearm. The modern form of the English word is recorded from 1620s. Extended broadly 20c. to other small containers and their contents.