from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Large-caliber weapons, such as cannon, howitzers, and missile launchers, that are operated by crews.
  • n. The branch of an army that specializes in the use of such weapons.
  • n. The science of the use of guns; gunnery.
  • n. Weapons, such as catapults, arbalests, and other early devices, used for discharging missiles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Large cannon like weapons, transportable and usually operated by more than one person.
  • n. A unit of the army, that uses such weapons.
  • n. Gunnery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Munitions of war; implements for warfare, as slings, bows, and arrows.
  • n. Cannon; great guns; ordnance, including guns, mortars, howitzers, etc., with their equipment of carriages, balls, bombs, and shot of all kinds.
  • n. The men and officers of that branch of the army to which the care and management of artillery are confided.
  • n. The science of artillery or gunnery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Implements of war: in this sense formerly with a plural.
  • n. In particular Engines for discharging missiles, as catapults, bows, crossbows, slings, etc.
  • n. In modern use, properly, all firearms discharged from carriages, in contradistinction to small arms, which are discharged from the hand; cannon; ordnance.
  • n. Hence The particular troops employed in the service of such firearms.
  • n. The science which treats of the use and management of ordnance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an army unit that uses big guns
  • n. large but transportable armament
  • n. a means of persuading or arguing


Middle English artillerie, from Old French, from artillier, to equip, perhaps alteration of atiller, from Vulgar Latin *apticulāre, from Latin aptāre, to fit, adapt, from aptus, apt; see apt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English artillerie, from Old French artillerie. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Captured at Yorktown: 2 regiments of artillery, including "60 pieces brass cannon, 150 iron ditto (meaning "the same")," and the men who operated them (number not enumerated separately, though included in the total of about 7,900).

    October 29, 2007