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[gren-uh-deer] /ˌgrɛn əˈdɪər/
(in the British army) a member of the first regiment of household infantry (Grenadier Guards)
(formerly) a specially selected foot soldier in certain elite units.
(formerly) a soldier who threw grenades.
Also called rat-tail, rat tail. any of several deep-sea fishes of the family Macrouridae, having an elongated, tapering tail.
Origin of grenadier
From French, dating back to 1670-80; See origin at grenade, -ier2
Related forms
grenadierial, adjective
grenadierly, adverb
grenadiership, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for grenadier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I sat up straight as a grenadier, my shoulders absurdly stiff.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • "Spoke like a British grenadier," cried Billy, with enthusiasm.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • As my eye flashed upon them, they stiffened up like grenadier recruits.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • She charges me like a grenadier and asks me to give her—guess a little what!

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • It went to my heart that the grenadier was out of the question.

    The King's Mirror Anthony Hope
  • I was so different from the grenadier, so irreconcilable with Elsa's fancy portrait.

    The King's Mirror Anthony Hope
  • But there you saw a flash that would have cowed a grenadier.

    The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett
British Dictionary definitions for grenadier


  1. (in the British Army) a member of the senior regiment of infantry in the Household Brigade
  2. (formerly) a member of a special formation, usually selected for strength and height
  3. (formerly) a soldier trained to throw grenades
Also called rat-tail. any deep-sea gadoid fish of the family Macrouridae, typically having a large head and trunk and a long tapering tail
any of various African weaverbirds of the genus Estrilda See waxbill
Word Origin
C17: from French; see grenade
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 grenadier

1670s, originally a word for soldiers "who were dexterous in flinging hand-granados" [Evelyn], from French grenadier (15c.), from Middle French grenade "grenade" (see grenade); later "the tallest and finest men in the regiment" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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