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Borrowed from Late Latin battālia, variant of battuālia (military exercises), from Latin battuō (to strike, beat), from Gaulish.



  1. (obsolete) Order of battle; disposition or arrangement of troops or of a naval force, ready for action.
    • 1651, Taylor, Jeremy, “Sermon VI”, in The Sermons of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor[1], Philadelphia: H. Hooker, published 1845, pages 456–457:
      [] but we find, by a sad experience, that few questions are well stated; and when they are, they are not consented to; and when they are agreed on by both sides that they are well stated, it is nothing else but a drawing up the armies in battalia with great skill and discipline; the next thing they do is, they thrust their swords into one another's sides.
    • 1695, Congreve, William, “To the King on the taking of Namur”, in A Complete Edition of the British Poets[2], volume 7, London: John & Arthur Arch, published 1795, stanza IV, page 537:
      Two rival armies all the plain o'erspread, / Each in battalia rang'd, and shining arms array'd
  2. (obsolete) An army in battle array; also, the main battalia or body.