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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for artillery


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of artillery in a Sentence

The troops were being bombarded by artillery. a captain in the artillery
Recent Examples on the Web Eyewitnesses said the shattering space rock rang like artillery fire from that distance and was as bright as the sun. Jessica Boddy, Popular Science, "Ranked: the loudest sounds ever measured," 3 Feb. 2020 The launches came two days after North Korea’s state media said leader Kim Jong Un supervised an artillery drill aimed at testing the combat readiness of units in front-line and eastern areas. Kim Tong-hyung And Hyung-jin Kim, USA TODAY, "North Korea fires unidentified projectiles into the sea," 2 Mar. 2020 That contradicted reports from the scene that described a Russian jet striking a Turkish convoy, and then artillery strikes pounding Turkish troops in several buildings. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "After a Face-Off in Syria, Turkey and Russia Try to Pull Back From the Brink," 28 Feb. 2020 So Elizabeth Warren spends her time attacking Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg focuses his rhetorical artillery on Amy Klobuchar, and Klobuchar returns fire. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Why Aren’t Democrats Issuing a Sanders Alert?," 26 Feb. 2020 On Tuesday, President Moon Jae-in reviewed military planes including an F-35, missiles and artillery systems that were displayed on the ground at the start of the ceremony at an air base in southeastern South Korea. San Diego Union-Tribune, "South Korea shows its US-made F-35 stealth jets for 1st time," 30 Sep. 2019 In bedrooms or schoolyards, they have been blasted by airstrikes or artillery shells. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "Inside embattled Idlib province: A Syrian offensive wreaks terror on children," 26 Feb. 2020 In the 1960s, designers began looking at modifying artillery shells themselves to increase range. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Leaked Images Show the Army’s Mind-Bending New Super Gun," 25 Feb. 2020 South Carolina Charleston: Several downtown streets were closed Wednesday after construction crews found a Civil War artillery shell, police said. USA TODAY, "‘Bag Full of Drugs,’ kiwiberries, retiring bulldog: News from around our 50 states," 6 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about artillery

Time Traveler for artillery

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for artillery

Last Updated

29 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Artillery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!