Origin of grapeshot

First recorded in 1740–50; grape + shot1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for grapeshot

Historical Examples of grapeshot

  • That kind of grapeshot which is secured in tiers by parallel iron discs.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Beside the cannon were stacked canisters of grapeshot and flannel bags of powder.


    Robert Shea

  • He had been so sure that storm of grapeshot from the Victory would finish off the Indians.


    Robert Shea

  • Then the Green House struck the door like a salvo of grapeshot.

    The Varmint

    Owen Johnson

  • I beg your acceptance of an inkstand, made with a Russian grapeshot.

British Dictionary definitions for grapeshot


  1. ammunition for cannons consisting of a canvas tube containing a cluster of small iron or lead balls that scatter after firing
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 grapeshot

also grape-shot, 1747, from grape + shot (n.). So called for its appearance. Originally simply grape, as a collective singular (1680s).


also grape-shot, 1747, from grape + shot (n.). So called for its appearance. The whiff of grapeshot popularized in English from 1837, from Carlyle's history of the French Revolution (in which it was a chapter title).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper