ar·​my | \ ˈär-mē How to pronounce army (audio) \
plural armies

Definition of army

1a : a large organized body of armed personnel trained for war especially on land
b : a unit capable of independent action and consisting usually of a headquarters, two or more corps, and auxiliary troops
c often capitalized : the complete military organization of a nation for land warfare
2 : a great multitude an army of birds
3 : a body of persons organized to advance a cause

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Examples of army in a Sentence

the armies of Alexander the Great He left home and joined the army after he graduated from high school. The company employs an army of lawyers to handle its legal affairs. They sent in a whole army of trained technicians. The organization was founded by a dedicated army of volunteers.
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Recent Examples on the Web Soldiers are constantly on the alert for any action by the opposing army, which is only 1,600 feet away. Washington Post, "In Nagorno-Karabakh, a chronicle of ‘endless’ strife," 26 Oct. 2020 Even though Taiwan has its own government, democratic elections and army, most governments around the world don’t recognize it as a country. NBC News, "Tiny Taiwan caught in the middle as U.S. and China battle for supremacy," 24 Oct. 2020 Chinese troops, whom Beijing characterized as a volunteer army, entered combat in October 1950 as U.S.-led United Nations forces threatened to overwhelm North Korea just months after the war began with Pyongyang’s invasion of South Korea. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "Xi Recalls Anti-U.S. Struggle in Korean War: Chinese People ‘Aren’t to Be Trifled With’," 23 Oct. 2020 Its troops fought Bashar al-Assad’s army for weeks earlier this year, including with artillery and drone strikes, to stall the offensive on Idlib. Selcan Hacaoglu,, "Turkey Is Relocating Military Posts in Syria as Pressure Grows," 23 Oct. 2020 The president’s decision to completely omit the Lekki shootings from his speech was in line with the army’s official stance of denial despite a wealth of video footage which contradicts this claim. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "A tone-deaf speech by Nigeria’s president Buhari missed a chance for empathy amid national protests," 23 Oct. 2020 Adding to those concerns, the Trump campaign has vowed to raise a 50,000-plus army of volunteer observers across an array of battleground states to monitor the voting. Stephen Montemayor, Star Tribune, "Calls for armed guards, 'Army for Trump' volunteers, vex Minnesota election officials," 21 Oct. 2020 After independence northerners dominated Uganda’s army and, by extension, its politics. Liam Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "'People Power' in Uganda: The lawyer promoting a pop-star candidate," 20 Oct. 2020 As more and more band members enter the scene wearing the same uniform, the stage becomes a cacophony of global percussion, keyboards, and electric guitars, and the performers look like a business-casual army, a mildly stormy sea. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "David Byrne’s Gray Suits, from “Stop Making Sense” to “American Utopia”," 20 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'army.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of army

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for army

Middle English armee, armye "host of armed men, naval fleet, military expedition," borrowed from Anglo-French armé, armee, from armer "to arm entry 2" + -ee, suffix of action or result (going back to Vulgar Latin *-āta, noun derivative from feminine of Latin -ātus, past participle ending of Latin first-conjugation verbs)

Note: Compare Spanish armada "military force, fleet of warships"—see armada.

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Time Traveler for army

Time Traveler

The first known use of army was circa 1522

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Statistics for army

Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Army.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for army


How to pronounce army (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of army

: a large group of soldiers organized to fight battles on land
: the part of a country's military forces that includes soldiers who are trained to fight on land
: a large number of people or things that are involved in some activity together


ar·​my | \ ˈär-mē How to pronounce army (audio) \
plural armies

Kids Definition of army

1 : a large body of soldiers trained for land warfare
2 often capitalized : the complete military organization of a nation for land warfare
3 : a great number of people or things an army of volunteers

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