History of the word ‘armour’

Armour is the English spelling of the term used to describe the protective clothing and equipment used by soldiers for thousands of years during battle. The American spelling is ‘armor’. It can be used to describe a whole suit of armour or just various individual pieces that were used such as breastplates or gauntlets.

This term actually started out in the Middle Ages, even though the history books show that armour has been worn for thousands of years and dates back beyond the ancient Greeks and Romans. The origin of the word is from Old French and the first recorded use of it is in 1297. The French word is ‘armure’ and it translates as ‘mail’, which is also a name used to mean protective wear in battle. The French word itself actually came from a Latin word ‘armatura’ which meant equipment or arms.

The term ‘mail’ was used more often than the word ‘armour’ during Medieval times. This is because it described the appearance of a type of armour which is made from links of metal. This was a popular type of armour that remained in use until various types of plate armour were developed.