BROADSIDE, sometimes termed Broadsheet, a single sheet of paper containing printed matter on one side only. The broadside seems to have been employed from the very beginning of printing for royal proclamations, papal indulgences and similar documents. England appears to have been its chief home, where it was used chiefly for ballads, particularly in the 16th century, but also as a means of political agitation and for personal statements of all kinds, especially for the dissemination of the dying speeches and confessions of criminals. It is prominent in the history of literature because, particularly during the later part of the 17th century, several important poems, by Dryden, Butler and others, originally appeared printed on the "broad side" of a sheet. The term is also used of the simultaneous discharge of the guns on one side of a ship of war.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)