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[kav-uh l-ree] /ˈkæv əl ri/
noun, plural cavalries.
  1. the part of a military force composed of troops that serve on horseback.
  2. mounted soldiers collectively.
  3. the motorized, armored units of a military force organized for maximum mobility.
horsemen, horses, etc., collectively.
Origin of cavalry
1585-95; syncopated variant of cavallery < Italian cavalleria, derivative of cavaliere cavalier
Can be confused
Calvary, cavalry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for cavalry


noun (pl) -ries
(esp formerly) the part of an army composed of mounted troops
the armoured element of a modern army
(as modifier): a cavalry unit, a cavalry charge
Derived Forms
cavalryman, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French cavallerie, from Italian cavalleria, from cavaliere horseman; see cavalier
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 cavalry

1540s, from Middle French cavalerie (16c.), from Italian cavalleria "mounted militia," from cavaliere (see cavalier (n.)). An Old English word for it was horshere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cavalry



Last-minute rescue forces; a deus ex machina: Powell likened the Somalia operation to ''the cavalry coming to the rescue''/ not the time for a President who avoided the draft to call up the cavalry/ Democrats hear hoofbeats—the cavalry's arrival, in the nick of time

[1980s+; fr the numerous cases in cowboy movies when the US Cavalry would arrive to rescue various beleaguered persons]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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