BEING INSPIRED RECENTLY, FOR NO REAL REASON, TO THINK ON THE CLASS AND TRAINING OF SOLDIERS, AND HOW THEY COME TO BE CALLED ONE THING OR ANOTHER
n. — a soldier trained to throw grenades
fm. French, grenade, meaning pomegranate
Due to the weight and inconsistent fuses of early grenades, the 17th century grenadier was required to be physically strong and tactically advanced, able to stand in front of the army and judge the moment to use his weapon to best advantage without giving the enemy time to hurl the grenade back.
These traits carried over to later centuries, when a specific, specialized grenadier was made obsolete by better technology. The word then meant an elite soldier generally, often destined for forward positions.
first published. 1676
inspiration. the first provocative soldier name that came to me
featured image. Paul-Mathieu Laurent, French Horse-Mounted Grenadier of the Napoleon Guard, from History of Napoleon, 1843.