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army

[ahr-mee]
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noun, plural ar·mies.
  1. the military forces of a nation, exclusive of the navy and in some countries the air force.
  2. (in large military land forces) a unit consisting typically of two or more corps and a headquarters.
  3. a large body of persons trained and armed for war.
  4. any body of persons organized for any purpose: an army of census takers.
  5. a very large number or group of something; a great multitude; a host: the army of the unemployed.

Origin of army

1350–1400; Middle English armee < Middle French < Latin armāta. Cf. Armada
Related formspro·ar·my, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for army

army

noun plural -mies
  1. the military land forces of a nation
  2. a military unit usually consisting of two or more corps with supporting arms and services
  3. (modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of an armyarmy rations
  4. any large body of people united for some specific purpose
  5. a large number of people, animals, etc; multitude

Word Origin

C14: from Old French armee, from Medieval Latin armāta armed forces; see armada
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for army

n.

late 14c., "armed expedition," from Old French armée (14c.) "armed troop, armed expedition," from Medieval Latin armata "armed force," from Latin armata, fem. of armatus "armed, equipped, in arms," past participle of armare "to arm," literally "act of arming," related to arma "tools, arms" (see arm (n.2)). Originally used of expeditions on sea or land; the specific meaning "land force" first recorded 1786. Transferred meaning "host, multitude" is c.1500.

The Old English words were here (still preserved in derivatives like harrier), from PIE *kor- "people, crowd;" and fierd, with an original sense of "expedition," from faran "travel." In spite of etymology, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, here generally meant "invading Vikings" and fierd was used for the local militias raised to fight them.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper