bay·​o·​net | \ˈbā-ə-nət, -ˌnet, ˌbā-ə-ˈnet \

Definition of bayonet 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a steel blade attached at the muzzle end of a shoulder arm (such as a rifle) and used in hand-to-hand combat


bayoneted also bayonetted; bayoneting also bayonetting

Definition of bayonet (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to stab with a bayonet

2 : to compel or drive by or as if by the bayonet

intransitive verb

: to use a bayonet

Examples of bayonet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pascal was in charge of presenting an American corner in the encampment — composed of a small tent for two men, a backpack including mess tin and cutlery and a bayonet. Sylvie Corbet, Fox News, "Volunteers re-enact World War I encampment in Verdun, France," 25 Aug. 2018 Or consider one of the more famous triumphalist Trump images: Here, the president, clad in Revolutionary-era garb with a bald eagle perched on his left arm, holds a machine gun fitted with a bayonet. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "To Trump fans, #MAGA is more than a slogan. It’s an aesthetic.," 8 Aug. 2018 Nearly two centuries ago, statesmen carved Alabama out of Mississippi, and then pushed out the indigenous—Cherokee and Creek—at the edge of bayonets. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "Alabama’s History Haunts, But It Also Instructs," 27 June 2018 At a powwow in 2000 in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Madeleine Albright, then America’s secretary of state, was greeted with mass callisthenics and bayonet drills. The Economist, "Talks between America and North Korea might succeed—at a terrible price," 7 June 2018 Brown was chosen to lead an advance group, called Forlorn Hope because of their chance of survival, to storm the redoubt armed with only bayonets and fending off musket fire and cannons. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Our history: Revolutionary War patriots among city settlers," 3 July 2018 Allied forces, at long last, managed to contain German troops in their push toward Paris, but not before weeks of fearsome combat, sometimes hand-to-hand with bayonets amid clouds of mustard gas and shells exploding in the dark, overgrown woods. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, "How old is former NFL coach Marv Levy? His dad was wounded in World War I," 27 June 2018 The bronze statue depicts a Polish soldier bound, gagged and impaled by a bayonet. Fox News, "Officials to detail plans for moving statue marking massacre," 14 May 2018 Yet, even against such an imposing backdrop, the statue holds its own, drawing eyes with its provocative display of a soldier impaled by a bayonet, standing more than 30 feet above the center of the square. New York Times, "Jersey City Argues Over a Statue, and Politicians in Poland Weigh In," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And anyway, always better to be bitten by a stingray than bayoneted. Erik Heinrich,, "Kittiwake wreck dive and Stingray City are unforgettable adventures – even if you do get bit," 16 May 2018 An Army inquiry ultimately determined that 347 civilians were killed that day — shot, bayoneted or blasted with grenades. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Ernest Medina, Army Captain Acquitted in My Lai Massacre, Dies at 81," 13 May 2018 An Army inquiry ultimately determined that 347 civilians were killed that day — shot, bayoneted, or blasted with grenades. Richard Goldstein,, "Ernest Medina, 81, Army captain acquitted in My Lai Massacre," 14 May 2018 One elderly man was bayoneted to death; another man was thrown alive into a well and killed with a hand grenade. Washington Post, "50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military," 15 Mar. 2018 One elderly man was bayoneted to death; another man was thrown alive into a well and killed with a hand grenade. Fox News, "50 years ago, the My Lai massacre shamed the US military," 15 Mar. 2018 There are many battles in which surrendering soldiers are gunned down or bayoneted to death. Dom Giordano,, "Bill O'Reilly mastered the art of turning history into fascinating reads | Dom Giordano," 27 Sep. 2017 One of them, Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, who used his office to bayonet Mr. Obama’s clean-energy regulations, was just chosen by Mr. Trump to become the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Vivian Yee, New York Times, "To Combat Trump, Democrats Ready a G.O.P. Tactic: Lawsuits," 14 Dec. 2016 McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Elliot Kaufman, National Review, "John McCain: A Hero Under Fire," 19 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bayonet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bayonet


1680, in the meaning defined above


1778, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bayonet


French baïonnette, from Bayonne, France

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Statistics for bayonet

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bayonet

The first known use of bayonet was in 1680

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More Definitions for bayonet



English Language Learners Definition of bayonet

: a long knife that is attached to the end of a rifle and used as a weapon in battle


bay·​o·​net | \ˈbā-ə-nət, ˌbā-ə-ˈnet\

Kids Definition of bayonet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a weapon like a dagger made to fit on the end of a rifle


bayonetted; bayonetting

Kids Definition of bayonet (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stab with a bayonet

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Comments on bayonet

What made you want to look up bayonet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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