the military forces of a nation, exclusive of the navy and in some countries the air force.
(in large military land forces) a unit consisting typically of two or more corps and a headquarters.
a large body of persons trained and armed for war.
any body of persons organized for any purpose:
an army of census takers.
a very large number or group of something; a great multitude; a host:
the army of the unemployed.
Contemporary Examples

Key cabinet ministers and the heads of the army, navy, and air force are members of the nuclear authority.
The Scary Unraveling of Pakistan Ahmed Rashid November 29, 2009

General Raheel Sharif replaced General Ashfaq Kayani as Chief of army Staff (COAS).
The New Head of Pakistan’s Army Holds the Country’s Most Important Job Bruce Riedel November 29, 2013

army officials gave a name and face Friday to the soldier alleged to have killed 16 Afghans on Sunday.
Robert Bales, the Army Staff Sgt. Accused of Killing 16 Afghans Matthew DeLuca March 17, 2012

Compared to the high-order explosives he witnessed in the army, dry ice bombs are barely a threat.
Dry Ice Goes Boom Abby Haglage October 15, 2013

The army Corps of Engineers sent a “SWAT” team of dewatering experts to help drain flooded subway tunnels.
Warm Up, Cook, Recharge: A Smart Tool Born of Hurricane Sandy Aftermath Kevin Fallon November 9, 2012

Historical Examples

She was terrible as an army with banners; fair as the sea or the sunset.
The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark

When you kill off all your present army, you must git up a draft.
Punchinello, Vol. 1. No. 20, August 13, 1870 Various

If it has not accomplished all that was expected, the reasons are well known to the army.
Three Years in the Federal Cavalry Willard Glazier

He had made up his mind to put an end to the purchase of commissions in the army.
The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook

Or from what necessity did the son of Atreus, assembling an army, lead it hither?
The Iliad of Homer (1873) Homer

noun (pl) -mies
the military land forces of a nation
a military unit usually consisting of two or more corps with supporting arms and services
(modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of an army: army rations
any large body of people united for some specific purpose
a large number of people, animals, etc; multitude

late 14c., “armed expedition,” from Old French armée (14c.) “armed troop, armed expedition,” from Medieval Latin armata “armed force,” from Latin armata, fem. of armatus “armed, equipped, in arms,” past participle of armare “to arm,” literally “act of arming,” related to arma “tools, arms” (see arm (n.2)). Originally used of expeditions on sea or land; the specific meaning “land force” first recorded 1786. Transferred meaning “host, multitude” is c.1500.

The Old English words were here (still preserved in derivatives like harrier), from PIE *kor- “people, crowd;” and fierd, with an original sense of “expedition,” from faran “travel.” In spite of etymology, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, here generally meant “invading Vikings” and fierd was used for the local militias raised to fight them.

The Israelites marched out of Egypt in military order (Ex. 13:18, “harnessed;” marg., “five in a rank”). Each tribe formed a battalion, with its own banner and leader (Num. 2:2; 10:14). In war the army was divided into thousands and hundreds under their several captains (Num. 31:14), and also into families (Num. 2:34; 2 Chr. 25:5; 26:12). From the time of their entering the land of Canaan to the time of the kings, the Israelites made little progress in military affairs, although often engaged in warfare. The kings introduced the custom of maintaining a bodyguard (the Gibborim; i.e., “heroes”), and thus the nucleus of a standing army was formed. Saul had an army of 3,000 select warriors (1 Sam. 13:2; 14:52; 24:2). David also had a band of soldiers around him (1 Sam. 23:13; 25:13). To this band he afterwards added the Cherethites and the Pelethites (2 Sam. 15:18; 20:7). At first the army consisted only of infantry (1 Sam. 4:10; 15:4), as the use of horses was prohibited (Deut. 17:16); but chariots and horses were afterwards added (2 Sam. 8:4; 1 Kings 10:26, 28, 29; 1 Kings 9:19). In 1 Kings 9:22 there is given a list of the various gradations of rank held by those who composed the army. The equipment and maintenance of the army were at the public expense (2 Sam. 17:28, 29; 1 Kings 4:27; 10:16, 17; Judg. 20:10). At the Exodus the number of males above twenty years capable of bearing arms was 600,000 (Ex. 12:37). In David’s time it mounted to the number of 1,300,000 (2 Sam. 24:9).


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