A grenade is a small bomb typically thrown by hand. A variety of hand grenades exist, the most common being explosive grenades designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time. Originally, Grenadiers were the soldiers who specialised in throwing grenades.


Grenade, meaning "small explosive shell," was thrown rather than discharged from a cannon, comes from Old French grenate and later from 16th century Middle French pomegranate. The multi-seeded fruit suggested similarities to the powder-filled, fragmenting bomb. The term was used extensively during the 17th century, phasing out out of use by the 18th century. It saw a revival in the 20th century, especially during the First and Second World Wars. Its first use in English dates from the 1590s.[1]

References / notes[edit]

  1. Grenade Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed 21 April, 2017.

Glossary of terms and customs[edit]

This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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