mitrailleuse (n.)

kind of machine gun, from French mitrailleuse (19c.), from Old French mitaille (14c.) "small coins," hence "old iron, scrap iron," then "grapeshot;" originally a diminutive of mite "a small coin" (see mite (n.2)). "For sense development it should be borne in mind that orig. guns used to be loaded with scrap iron" [Klein].

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