Etymology
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cannon (n.)

c. 1400, "artillery piece, mounted gun for throwing projectiles by force of gunpowder," from Anglo-French canon (mid-14c.), Old French canon (14c.), from Italian cannone "large tube, barrel," augmentative of Latin canna "reed, tube" (see cane (n.)). The double -n- spelling to differentiate it from canon is from c. 1800. Cannon fodder (1847) translates German kanonenfutter (compare Shakespeare's food for powder in "I Hen. IV").

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cannon-shot (n.)
"distance a cannon will throw a ball," 1570s, from cannon (n.) + shot (n.).
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cannon-ball (n.)
also cannon ball, "iron ball to be shot from a cannon," 1660s, from cannon (n.) + ball (n.1). Earlier in this sense was cannon-shot (1590s). As a type of dive, from 1905.
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cannonade (n.)
"a continued discharge of artillery," 1650s, from cannon + -ade. As a verb, "attack with artillery," from 1660s. Compare French canonnade (16c.), Italian cannonata. Related: Cannonaded; cannonading.
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loose cannon (n.)

in the figurative sense "wildly irresponsible person, potent person or thing freed from usual restraint," by 1896; in the literal sense an object of dread on old warships; the figurative use probably arose from a celebrated scene in a popular late novel by Victor Hugo:

You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three," 1874]
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gunner (n.)
mid-14c., gonner "one who works a cannon, catapult, or mangonel," from gun (n.) + -er (1).
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gunshot (n.)
also gun-shot, early 15c., "the firing of a gun," from gun (n.) + shot (n.). Meaning "range of a gun or cannon" is from 1530s.
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sponger (n.)
1670s, "parasite," agent noun from sponge (v.) in figurative sense. As a job on a cannon crew, by 1828.
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mortar (n.3)

"short cannon, ordnance piece short in proportion to the size of its bore," fired at a high angle and meant to secure a vertical fall of the projectile, 1620s, originally mortar-piece (1550s), from French mortier "short cannon," in Old French, "bowl for mixing or pounding" (see mortar (n.2)). So called for its shape.

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firearm (n.)
also fire-arm, 1640s, from fire (n.) + arm (n.2). Anything which expels a missile by combustion of gunpowder (or a similar substance), from a pistol to a cannon. Related: Firearms.
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