1. (in the British army) a member of the first regiment of household infantry (Grenadier Guards).
  2. (formerly) a specially selected foot soldier in certain elite units.
  3. (formerly) a soldier who threw grenades.
  4. Also called rat-tail, rat tail. any of several deep-sea fishes of the family Macrouridae, having an elongated, tapering tail.


  1. military
    1. (in the British Army) a member of the senior regiment of infantry in the Household Brigade
    2. (formerly) a member of a special formation, usually selected for strength and height
    3. (formerly) a soldier trained to throw grenades
  2. Also called: rat-tail any deep-sea gadoid fish of the family Macrouridae, typically having a large head and trunk and a long tapering tail
  3. any of various African weaverbirds of the genus EstrildaSee waxbill

1670s, originally a word for soldiers “who were dexterous in flinging hand-granados” [Evelyn], from French grenadier (15c.), from Middle French grenade “grenade” (see grenade); later “the tallest and finest men in the regiment” [OED].

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