Etymology
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cavalry (n.)

"soldiers who march and fight on horseback," 1590s, from French cavalerie (16c.), from Italian cavalleria "mounted militia," from cavaliere "mounted soldier" (see cavalier (n.)). An Old English word for it was horshere.

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mechanized (adj.)

also mechanised, in the military sense of "equipped with or using mechanical vehicles and weapons," 1926, past-participle adjective from mechanize (v.).

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cavalryman (n.)

also cavalry-man, "member of a cavalry regiment, soldier who fights on horseback," 1819, from cavalry + man (n.).

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mechanize (v.)

"to render mechanical, bring into a mechanical state or condition," 1670s; see mechanic (adj.) + -ize. Related: Mechanized; mechanizing. Earlier was mechanicalize (1610s); in 19c., mechanicize also was tried.

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trooper (n.)

1630s, "soldier in a cavalry troop," from troop (n.) + -er (1). Extended to "mounted policeman" (1858, in Australia) then to "state policeman" (U.S.) by 1911.

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cheval de frise (n.)

1680s, from French, literally "horse of Frisia," supposedly because it was first employed there as a defense against cavalry (at the siege of Groningen); from French cheval "horse" (see cavalier (n.)). Plural chevaux de frise.

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haversack (n.)

1735, from French havresac (1670s), from Low German hafersach "cavalry trooper's bag for horse provender," literally "oat sack," from the common Germanic word for "oat" (see haver (n.1)) + sack (n.1).

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hard-ass (adj.)

"tough, uncompromising," 1961, from hard (adj.) + ass (n.2). Probably originally military. As a noun, "tough, uncompromising person," from 1967. Old Hard Ass is said to have been a nickname of Gen. George A. Custer (1839-1876) among his cavalry troops because of his seeming tirelessness in the saddle.

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jackboot (n.)

also jack-boot, 1680s, type of large, strong over-the-knee cavalry boot of 17c.-18c., later a type worn by German military and para-military units in the Nazi period. From jack (n.), though the exact sense here is unclear + boot (n.1). Figurative of military oppression since 1768. Related: Jackbooted.

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dragoon (n.)

1620s, "cavalry soldier carrying firearms," and thus capable of service either on horseback or on foot, from French dragon, probably so called for the guns they carried, from dragon "carbine, musket," because the guns "breathed fire" like dragons (see dragon). Also see -oon. For the sense evolution, compare musket.

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