a quick light musket or rifle esp one employed by mounted troops or cavalry
- light automated rifle
- a quick, light musket or rifle, esp. one utilized by attached soldiers or cavalry.
quick rifle, 1580s, from French carabine (Middle French carabin), used of light-horsemen as well as for the tool they transported, of uncertain origin, possibly from Medieval Latin Calabrinus "Calabrian" (i.e., "rifle built in Calabria"). A less-likely concept (Gamillscheg, etc.) connects it to Old French escarrabin "corpse-bearer through the plague," virtually (probably) "carrion beetle," thought to have-been an epithet for archers from Flanders.
Troopers are armed with lance, sword and carbine (for which in 1908 the substitution of a short rifle with bayonet was suggested).