(3 syl.). Short, light iron guns. As they have no trunnions they differ in this respect from guns and howitzers (q.v.). They were invented in 1779 by Mr. Gascoigne, director of the Carron foundry, in Scotland, whence the name. Carronades are fastened to their carriages by a loop underneath, and are chiefly used in the arming of ships, to enable them to throw heavy shot at close quarters, without overloading the decks with heavy guns. On shore they are used as howitzers.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894