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mounted projectile-firing guns or missile launchers, mobile or stationary, light or heavy, as distinguished from small arms.
the troops or the branch of an army concerned with the use and service of such weapons.
the science that treats of the use of such weapons.
Contemporary Examples

His barracks at Fort Carson sat near the artillery range and the booming shells sent him trembling under his bed.
PTSD: How the U.S. Army Failed Veteran Courtney Lockhart David Philipps November 9, 2010

The place was awash with water, and we couldn’t see a thing and we couldn’t hear anything above the small-arms and artillery fire.
Navy Seal Training: The Start of Hell Week Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson May 7, 2011

The North has more than 10,000 artillery pieces and rockets poised on the DMZ that could hit Seoul within minutes.
Not So Fast, Kim Leslie H. Gelb May 25, 2009

The Syrian army has moved cautiously under the cover of artillery fire and air support.
Syria’s Assault on Aleppo Stalls The Telegraph July 31, 2012

On Sunday night, both spouses woke up first at 2:00 a.m. and then again at 5:00 a.m. because of artillery shelling.
Mom and Pop on Ukraine’s Battle Line Anna Nemtsova June 1, 2014

Historical Examples

It was otherwise in the infancy of artillery and military engineering.
Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, Volume I (of 3) James Dennistoun

Rain fell in torrents; the crashing thunder was like the roar of artillery.
The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards

Later in the night, quite near to morning, there came a terrific shock of artillery fire that heralded a German raid.
The War Romance of the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth and Grace Livingston Hill

The artillery portion of the spectacle produced a still greater effect.
Freeland Theodor Hertzka

artillery, wagons and ammunition piled up in disorder; from people along the way reports of fighting.
The Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry in the Closing Scenes of the War for the Maintenance of the Union, from Richmond to Appomatox William B. Arnold

guns, cannon, howitzers, mortars, etc, of calibre greater than 20 mm
troops or military units specializing in using such guns
the science dealing with the use of guns
devices for discharging heavy missiles, such as catapults or slings

late 14c., “warlike munitions,” from Anglo-French artillerie, Old French artillerie (14c.), from artillier “to provide with engines of war” (13c.), which probably is from Medieval Latin articulum “art, skill,” diminutive of Latin ars (genitive artis) “art.” But some would connect it with Latin articulum “joint,” and still others with Old French atillier “to equip,” altered by influence of arte. Sense of “engines for discharging missiles” (catapults, slings, bows, etc.) is from late 15c.; that of “ordnance, large guns” is from 1530s.


A weapon or weapons, esp a handgun carried by a criminal; heat (1900s+ Underworld)
A drug user’s hypodermic syringe

Related Terms

heavy artillery

1 Sam. 20:40, (Heb. keli, meaning “apparatus;” here meaning collectively any missile weapons, as arrows and lances. In Revised Version, “weapons”). This word is derived from the Latin artillaria = equipment of war.


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  • Artillerist

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    characterized by a showy, pretentious, and often spurious display of artistic interest, manner, or mannerism. a male given name, form of . . Contemporary Examples Once she became a “pro”, however, she abandoned her arty ways and stuck to a more documentary style. India’s Modern Eye Blake Gopnik July 16, 2012 Cosmopolis is too arty […]

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