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From Middle English artillerie, from Old French artillerie (collection of military engines, crossbows, lances etc.), from artillier (to equip, provide with contraptions), alteration of atiller (to arrange, adjust, put on clothes or, especially, pieces of armour) (influenced by art), itself from Vulgar Latin *apticlō < **apticulō, from Latin aptō (to make capable).



artillery (countable and uncountable, plural artilleries)

  1. Large projectile weapons, in modern usage usually large guns, but also rocket artillery.
  2. An army unit that uses such weapons, or a military formation using projectile weapons, such as archers.
  3. Gunnery.
  4. (archaic) Weapons, especially siege engines.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, 1 Samuel 20:40:
      And Ionathan gaue his artillery vnto his ladde, and said vnto him, Goe, cary them to the citie.
      And Jonathan gave his weapons unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city. (American Standard Version)
    • 1866, Charles Kingsley, chapter 24, in Hereward the Wake, London: Nelson, page 330:
      The old walls [] were surely strong enough to keep out men without battering-rams, balistas, or artillery of any kind. [Footnote] Artillery is here used in its old English meaning for any kind of warlike engine. Cf. I Sam. XX. 40.

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