army

Definitions

General English

  • noun all the soldiers of a country, trained for fighting on land

Military

  • noun the branch of a state’s armed forces which operates on land (e.g. infantry, armour and artillery)
  • noun a tactical grouping of two or more corps

Politics

  • noun the part of a country’s armed forces which fights mainly on land

Origin & History of “army”

Latin armāta ‘armed’, the past participle of the verb armāre, was used in post-classical times as a noun, meaning ‘armed force’. Descendants of armāta in the romance languages include Spanish armada and French armée, from which English borrowed army. In early usage it could (like Spanish armada) mean a naval force as well as a land force (‘The king commanded that £21,000 should be paid to his army (for so that fleet is called everywhere in English Saxon) which rode at Greenwich’, Marchamont Needham’s translation of Selden’s Mare clausum 1652), but this had virtually died out by the end of the 18th century.
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