Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French infanterie, from Old Italian infanteria, from infante boy, foot soldier, from Latin infant-, infans
First Known Use: 1579
Troops who fight on foot. The term applies both to soldiers armed with hand weapons such as the spear and sword in ancient times and to troops armed with automatic rifles and rocket launchers in modern times. Their objective has always been to seize and hold ground and, when necessary, to occupy enemy territory. Apart from the temporary dominance of cavalry in the feudal period, it has been the largest single element in Western armies since ancient times.