Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 517 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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INFANTRY, the collective name of soldiers who march and fight on foot and are armed with hand-weapons. The word is derived ultimately from Lat. infans, infant, but it is not clear how the word came to be used to mean soldiers. The suggestion that it comes from a guard or regiment of a Spanish infanta about the end of the 15th century cannot be maintained in view of the fact that Spanish foot-soldiers of the time were called soldados and contrasted with French fantassins and Italian fanteria. The New English Dictionary suggests that a foot-soldier, being in feudal and early modern times the varlet or follower of a mounted noble, was called a boy (cf. Knabe, garcon, footman, &c., and see VALET).
End of Article: INFANTRY

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