Origin of broadside

First recorded in 1565–75; broad + side1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for broadside

Contemporary Examples of broadside

Historical Examples of broadside

  • I should care nothing for her and her broadside if the schooner was not here.'

  • Besides, by breaking the circuit I can take off the influence when I am firing my own broadside.

  • He fired his first broadside before his lodger entered the barn.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Sharp, shrewd, able and all that, but rough and hard as the broadside of a white-oak plank.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The mate's gun was never fired, nor was the broadside from below.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for broadside



nautical the entire side of a vessel, from stem to stern and from waterline to rail
  1. all the armament fired from one side of a warship
  2. the simultaneous discharge of such armament
a strong or abusive verbal or written attack
Also called: broadside ballad a ballad or popular song printed on one side of a sheet of paper and sold by hawkers, esp in 16th-century England
any standard size of paper before cutting or foldingdemy broadside
another name for broadsheet (def. 1)
a large flat surfacethe broadside of the barn


with a broader side facing an object; sidewaysthe train hit the lorry broadside
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 broadside

1590s, "side of a ship" (technically, "the side of a ship above the water, between the bow and the quarter"), from broad (adj.) + side (n.); thus "the artillery on one side of a ship all fired off at once" (1590s, with figurative extensions). Two words until late 18c. Of things other than ships, 1630s. But oldest-recorded sense in English is "sheet of paper printed only on one side" (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper