It's so weird how the above title can mean "the act of attacking electrical cells", "electrical cells that attack", "artillery that attacks", and "the act of attacking artillery". English is so complex. Anyway, it just occurred to me that battery can mean either the criminal offense or the energy storage thing, and how they're connected is interesting. It all starts with the Proto-Indo-European root which sounded something like behw or bhau and meant "to strike". This traveled through an apparently unrecorded word in Gaulish until it was picked up by invading Romans and inserted into Latin as battuere, or "to beat". This went back into the general area through Old French baterie, defined as "assault", and through Middle English batterie, landed in English as a word for "attack" and to describe large guns that "assault" others. These large guns would become important later when Ben Franklin invented a rudimentary version of the battery in 1748 and, likening the discharge of energy to the discharge of ammunition by military armaments, called it a "battery", cementing both definitions forevermore.
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.