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[bat-uh-ree; French batuh-ree] /ˈbæt ə ri; French batəˈri/
noun, plural batteries
[bat-uh-reez; French batuh-ree] /ˈbæt ə riz; French batəˈri/ (Show IPA).
a beating together of the calves or feet during a leap.
(in tap dancing) a rapid succession of taps, often compared to drumming or to machine-gun fire.
battery (def 11).
Origin of batterie
From French, dating back to 1705-15; See origin at battery


[bat-uh-ree] /ˈbæt ə ri/
noun, plural batteries.
  1. Also called galvanic battery, voltaic battery. a combination of two or more cell electrically connected to work together to produce electric energy.
  2. cell1 (def 7a).
any large group or series of related things:
a battery of questions.
  1. two or more pieces of artillery used for combined action.
  2. a tactical unit of artillery, usually consisting of six guns together with the artillerymen, equipment, etc., required to operate them.
  3. a parapet or fortification equipped with artillery.
a group or series of similar articles, machines, parts, etc.
Baseball. the pitcher and catcher considered as a unit.
  1. (on a warship) a group of guns having the same caliber or used for the same purpose.
  2. the whole armament of a warship.
Psychology. a series of tests yielding a single total score, used for measuring aptitude, intelligence, personality, etc.
the act of beating or battering.
Law. an unlawful attack upon another person by beating or wounding, or by touching in an offensive manner.
an instrument used in battering.
Also, batterie. Music. the instruments comprising the percussion section of an orchestra.
any imposing group of persons or things acting or directed in unison:
a battery of experts.
1525-35; < Middle French batterie, equivalent to batt(re) to beat (see bate2) + -erie -ery
Can be confused
assault, battery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for batteries


noun (pl) -teries
  1. two or more primary cells connected together, usually in series, to provide a source of electric current
  2. short for dry battery
another name for accumulator (sense 1)
a number of similar things occurring together: a battery of questions
(criminal law) unlawful beating or wounding of a person or mere touching in a hostile or offensive manner See also assault and battery
a fortified structure on which artillery is mounted
a group of guns, missile launchers, searchlights, or torpedo tubes of similar type or size operated as a single entity
a small tactical unit of artillery usually consisting of two or more troops, each of two, three or four guns
(mainly Brit)
  1. a large group of cages for intensive rearing of poultry
  2. (as modifier): battery hens
(psychol) a series of tests
(chess) two pieces of the same colour placed so that one can unmask an attack by the other by moving
the percussion section in an orchestra
(baseball) the pitcher and the catcher considered together
Word Origin
C16: from Old French batterie beating, from battre to beat, from Latin battuere
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
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Word Origin and History for batteries



1530s, "action of battering," from Middle French batterie, from Old French baterie (12c.) "beating, thrashing, assault," from batre "beat," from Latin battuere "beat" (see batter (v.)).

Meaning shifted in Middle French from "bombardment" ("heavy blows" upon city walls or fortresses) to "unit of artillery" (a sense recorded in English from 1550s). Extension to "electrical cell" (1748, first used by Ben Franklin) is perhaps from the artillery sense via notion of "discharges" of electricity. In Middle English, bateri meant only "forged metal ware." In obsolete baseball jargon battery was the word for "pitcher and catcher" considered as a unit (1867, originally only the pitcher).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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batteries in Medicine

battery bat·ter·y (bāt'ə-rē)

  1. The act of beating or pounding.

  2. An array of similar things intended for use together, such as achievement tests.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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batteries in Science

A device containing an electric cell or a series of electric cells storing energy that can be converted into electrical power (usually in the form of direct current). Common household batteries, such as those used in a flashlight, are usually made of dry cells (the chemicals producing the current are made into a paste). In other batteries, such as car batteries, these chemicals are in liquid form.

Our Living Language  : A battery stores chemical energy, which it converts to electrical energy. A typical battery, such as a car battery, is composed of an arrangement of galvanic cells. Each cell contains two metal electrodes, separate from each other, immersed within an electrolyte containing both positive and negative ions. A chemical reaction between the electrodes and the electrolyte, similar to that found in electroplating, takes place, and the metals dissolve in the electrolyte, leaving electrons behind on the electrodes. However, the metals dissolve at different rates, so a greater number of electrons accumulate at one electrode (creating the negative electrode) than at the other electrode (which becomes the positive electrode). This gives rise to an electric potential between the electrodes, which are typically linked together in series and parallel to one another in order to provide the desired voltage at the battery terminals (12 volts, for example, for a car battery). The buildup of charge on the electrodes prevents the metals from dissolving further, but if the battery is hooked up to an electric circuit through which current may flow, electrons are drawn out of the negative electrodes and into the positive ones, reducing their charge and allowing further chemical reactions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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batteries in Culture

battery definition

A device that produces an electric current by harnessing the chemical reactions that take place within its cells.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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