CARBINE (Fr. carabine, Ger. Karabiner), a word which came into use towards the end of the 16th century to denote a form of small fire-arm, shorter than the musket and chiefly used by mounted men. It has retained this significance, through all subsequent modifications of small-arm design, to the present day, and is now as a rule a shortened and otherwise slightly modified form of the ordinary rifle (q.v.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)