Glossary of Modern Terms

with origins in military history

bother 16C La in odio "in hatred", attack or annoy a town
surprise 16C La extonare "to strike by thunder", a blow on the head astonished a man
at full tilt
as fast or as forcibly as possible 14C sword or lance
at the ready
prepared for immediate use 15C preparing to raise firearm to aim or fire
unorthodox, experimental approach 15C Fr "front guard" or "advance guard"
unmarried man 11C Fr bacheler or bas chevalier "below a knight", squire
bag and baggage
all of one's belongings 15C army retreats with all of its property, surrendering nothing
barrier 16C Fr barriques barrels to block army "la Journee des Barricades" 05/12/1588
water bowl 9C La bachinas "an eating bowl", Fr bacin "bowl on the head", En bassinet "little basin"
stonghold 15C Fr 5-sided projection in fort wall
bear the brunt
take main impact 15C army front ranks
beat a retreat
back down 14C drums sound recall
bell tower 12C Fr berfrei/berfrooi "place of safety" siege tower
wildly crazy 6C Sc ber serkr, "bear shirt", no armor
crowd from all sides 11C Fr siege "seat", sit & wait
harass 12C Du leger "military camp"or "attack by surrounding"
blue ribbon
outstanding 14C King Edward III Knights of the Royal Garter
prize or gain 16C Ge bute "share or distribution" of war plunder
major street ?? Fr boulevard, Du bul "trunk of a tree" vark "work", defending bulwark, fortification
strong verbal attack 16C simultaneous discharge of all guns on one side of ship
strong defense of support 15C strong defensive rampart made of earth or other materials
burn one's bridges/boats
commit oneself irrevocably 10C vanquish or die (Roman "cross the Rubicon")
golfer's aide 15C Fr cadet "younger son in army"
camp follower
1C Fr campagne, La campus "field"
groups joined in common cause 16C It cartello "written challenge to a duel", later "agreement" between opponents
container for liquid, powder, gas, film, tape 15C La carta "paper" (cardboard) container for spices, drugs black powder
procession 16C It cavalcata (fr. La caballus) "raid by men on horseback"
fellow member, colleague, friend, crony 16C Sp camarada "place where soldiers sleep", soldiers who live & work together
annihilate 1C La decimare "to kill every tenth man"
practice 16C drill in a circle
drum up
gather support 15C drum troops to rally
within hearing 16C a distance like "bowshot" for a `gunshot
egg on
urge, encourage 6C No eggja "to put an edge on"
feather in one's cap
special honor 16C Hungarian (and other European) soldiers got one feather for each kill
flash in the pan
short-lived success 16C Powder in matchlock pan does not exploded
forlorn hope
little chance of success 16C Du verloren hoop "lost troop", select soldiers to start battle
destruction or devastation 11C ME havok "plunder" (became outlawed to say)
hoisted on one's own petard
caught in one's own trap 15C ME hoist "to send sky high" petard "iron canister of explosive"
lock, stock and barrel
the whole thing 16C three parts of a matchlock, black powder musket or arquebus
way out 14C hold or opening in fortress walls (first for shooting from, later for exiting)
collection of articles 16C Ar makhazin "store house", originally for storing black powder
set out in orderly way 7C OHGe marahscah "mare servant", keeper of horses
friends engaged in a similar enterprise 16C Fr mousequitaire "soldier with musket"
measure up 13C La monstrare "to show up, assemble", muster militia to training camp
petard, hoisted on one's own
caught in one's own trap 15C ME hoist "sky high", petard "shaped charged"
first settlers 16C Fr peonier "foot soldiers", first to go ahead andmake camp, later engineers, sappers
pound 16C Fr pomme "apple", La pomom "fruit", shape of sword pommel... used to strike blows
subdue, quiet 16C OE cwellan, ME quellan "to kill with violence or slaughter"
rank and file
followers rather than leaders 16C En rank "side by side", file "behind one another", information
pre-arranged meeting 16C Fr "present yourselves", troops or warships to assemble
rumor or gossip ?C En scuttle "hole in a vessel", hole in butt/cask where sailors drank water, talked
surprise 14C ME "to make a 'din'"
financial support 14C La subsidii "troops held in reserve" to provide assistance
swash buckler
swaggering doer of daring deeds 16C OE swash "to dash against", buckle "raised boss on shield
to the hilt
to the utmost 16C En "sword plunged in to its hilt"
brim of a cap 10C Fr viser "to face", later moveable portion of a military helmet (also remove helm/hat & salute)
close or clothes cabinet 15C Fr warde guard, robe "valuables"
principle, slogan, or motto 14C En "word to pass the watch", later "to signal an attack"
plaintive or complaining noise 15C A-S hwinan "whizzing sound of flying arrows", later bullets, children & animal sounds

En = English, ME = Middle English, OE = Old English, A-S = Anglo-Saxon, Fr = French, Sp = Spanish, It = Italian, La = Latin, Du = Dutch, (OH = Old High) Ge = German, No = Norse, Sc = Scandanavian, Ar = Arabic
Originally created 25 March 1999
by Michael Foster