Artillery - Etymology


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.

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