1. (in the British army) a member of the first regiment of household infantry (Grenadier Guards).
  2. (formerly) a specially selected foot soldier in certain elite units.
  3. (formerly) a soldier who threw grenades.
  4. 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 formsgren·a·dier·i·al, adjectivegren·a·dier·ly, adverbgren·a·dier·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grenadier

Contemporary Examples of grenadier

Historical Examples of grenadier

  • I sat up straight as a grenadier, my shoulders absurdly stiff.

  • "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

British Dictionary definitions for grenadier


  1. military
    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
  2. 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
  3. any of various African weaverbirds of the genus EstrildaSee waxbill

Word Origin for grenadier

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

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