ar·​til·​lery | \ är-ˈti-lə-rē How to pronounce artillery (audio) , -ˈtil-rē \
plural artilleries

Definition of artillery

1 : weapons (such as bows, slings, and catapults) for discharging missiles
2a : large bore mounted firearms (such as guns, howitzers, and rockets) : ordnance especially : such ordnance that is capable of long-range indirect fire at a target too distant to be seen
b : a branch of an army armed with artillery
3 : a means of impressing, arguing, persuading, or competing … indicated that the Bureau had not rolled out its heavy artillery for a full-scale investigation.— Herbert Mitgang

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Synonyms for artillery


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Examples of artillery in a Sentence

The troops were being bombarded by artillery. a captain in the artillery
Recent Examples on the Web In 1861, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union, the same day the Star of the West, a merchant vessel bringing reinforcements and supplies to federal troops at Fort Sumter, S.C., retreated because of artillery fire., "This day in history," 8 Jan. 2020 Airstrikes and artillery fire have killed at least 33 people since Friday. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for December 24: Boeing, Ukraine, Syria, Prince Philip and Roenick," 24 Dec. 2019 The Syrian Army’s artillery and Russian missiles raining down around Idlib have sent people fleeing in what aid groups say could become the worst humanitarian crisis yet in Syria’s civil war, now in its ninth year. Washington Post, "Idlib could become the worst humanitarian crisis in Syria’s civil war," 28 Dec. 2019 Lara noticed that the Marines’ artillery tubes were pointed in all directions. Sig Christenson,, "San Antonio veteran, now 88, recalls one of the Marines’ hardest fights ever," 27 Dec. 2019 The artillery may be packed away on Saturday, but with a pair of stout defenses on the field, the Fiesta Bowl may provide Chrisman and Spiers the rare stage to make a difference — with a right foot. New York Times, "Can They Kick It? Yes They Can. Ohio State and Clemson Just Don’t.," 27 Dec. 2019 On Sunday, White Helmet volunteer, Anwar Humaidi, lost his wife and three children in an artillery strike, according to the rescue group. CNN, "Dramatic video shows Syrian girl being rescued in middle of airstrike," 20 Dec. 2019 His first job was being a forward artillery observer. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This veteran was brought back to life after an explosion. Now he uses his life to help student veterans — and cook.," 19 Dec. 2019 Kevin Carroll, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, was an Army artillery officer from 2008 to 2012 before being medically retired over a back injury suffered in a training jump. Stephanie Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Mich. woman thought her college debt was paid. Until devastating call left her in tears.," 23 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'artillery.' 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 artillery

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for artillery

Middle English artillerie, from Anglo-French, from artiller to equip, arm, alteration of Old French atillier, from Vulgar Latin *apticulare, from Latin aptare to don, prepare, fit — more at adapt

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Time Traveler for artillery

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The first known use of artillery was in the 15th century

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Statistics for artillery

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Artillery.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for artillery


How to pronounce artillery (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of artillery

: large guns that are used to shoot over a great distance
: the part of an army that uses large guns to shoot over a great distance


ar·​til·​lery | \ är-ˈti-lə-rē \

Kids Definition of artillery

1 : large firearms (as cannon or rockets)
2 : a branch of an army armed with artillery

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Comments on artillery

What made you want to look up artillery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

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