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1801, "a 'volley of words,' " from French tirade "speech, volley, shot, continuation, drawing out" (16c.), from tirer "draw out, endure, suffer," or the French word is perhaps from cognate Italian tirata "a volley," from past participle of tirare "to draw." The whole Romanic word group is of uncertain origin; some think it is a shortening of the source of Old French martirer "endure martyrdom" (see martyr).