The word as used in the current context originated in the Middle Ages. One suggestion is that it comes from the Old French atellier meaning "to arrange", and attillement meaning "equipment".
From the 13th Century an artillier referred to a builder of any war equipment, and for the next 250 years the sense of the word "artillery" covered all forms of military weapons. Hence the naming of the Honourable Artillery Company an essentially infantry unit until the 19th Century. Another suggestion is that comes from the Italian arte de tirare (art of shooting) coined by one of the first theorists on the use of artillery, Niccolo Tartaglia.
Read more about this topic: Artillery
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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:
“The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.”
—Giambattista Vico (16881744)
“Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of style. But while stylederiving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tabletssuggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.”
—Stephen Bayley, British historian, art critic. Taste: The Story of an Idea, Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things, Random House (1991)