"a long, vehement speech, a 'volley of words,' " 1801, from French tirade "a volley, a shot; a pull; a long speech or passage; a drawing out" (16c.), from tirer "draw out, endure, suffer," or the French noun is perhaps from or influenced by cognate Italian tirata "a volley," from past participle of tirare "to draw." The whole Romanic word group is of uncertain origin. Barnhart suggests it is a shortening of the source of Old French martirer "endure martyrdom" (see martyr).
updated on February 10, 2014