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Denoting a dock for the construction and repair of ships: from French, or from obsolete Italian arzanale, based on Arabic dār-aṣ-ṣinā῾a, from dār ‘house’ + al- ‘(of) the’ + sinā῾a ‘art, industry’ (from ṣana῾a ‘make, fabricate’) or a house of manufacture.


  • 1: a collection of weapons and military equipment stored by a country, person, or group:
  • 2: a place where weapons and military equipment are stored or made.
  • 3: an array of resources available for a certain purpose: an arsenal of computers at our disposal.


An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, or issued, in any combination, whether privately or publicly owned. Arsenal and armoury (British English) or armory (US spelling are mostly regarded as synonyms, although subtle differences in usage exist.

Sub-armory is a place of temporary storage or carrying of weapons and ammunition, like any temporary Post or patrol vehicle which is only operational in certain times of the day.

A lower-class arsenal, which can furnish the materiel and equipment of a small army, may contain a laboratory, gun and carriage factories, small-arms ammunition, small-arms, harness, saddlery tent and powder factories; in addition, it must possess great store-houses. In a second-class arsenal, the factories would be replaced by workshops. The situation of an arsenal should be governed by strategic considerations. If of the first class, it should be situated at the base of operations and supply, secure from attack, not too near a frontier, and placed so as to draw in readily the resources of the country. The importance of a large arsenal is such that its defenses would be on the scale of those of a large fortress.