Artillery refers to large-caliber guns — guns with big barrels — which can be moved from one place to another for land battles. The artillery is also the name for the army unit that uses these big guns.

If you're a military commander and you say, "Bring in the heavy artillery," you're ordering the artillery to move into place and get ready for action. But if you're talking to fellow members of your debate team and you say, “Bring in the heavy artillery,” you mean "bring in our best debaters, our heaviest hitters." Artillery can refer to one weapon or 100 — the singular and plural are the same.

Definitions of artillery
  1. noun
    large but transportable armament
    synonyms: gun, heavy weapon, ordnance
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    a large artillery gun that is usually on wheels
    field artillery, field gun
    movable artillery (other than antiaircraft) used by armies in the field (especially for direct support of front-line troops)
    an artillery gun that throws a shot weighing four pounds
    ancient brass cannon
    a heavy cannon with a long barrel used in the 16th and 17th centuries
    harpoon gun
    a cannon or similar gun that fires harpoons
    high-angle gun
    a cannon that can be fired at a high elevation for relatively short ranges
    long tom
    a long swivel cannon formerly used by the navy
    type of:
    weaponry used by military or naval force
  2. noun
    an army unit that uses big guns
    synonyms: artillery unit
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    group of guns or missile launchers operated together at one place
    type of:
    army unit
    a military unit that is part of an army
  3. noun
    a means of persuading or arguing
    synonyms: weapon
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    type of:
    persuasion, suasion
    the act of persuading (or attempting to persuade); communication intended to induce belief or action
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