blow·​gun | \ ˈblō-ˌgən How to pronounce blowgun (audio) \

Definition of blowgun

: a tube through which a projectile (such as a dart) may be impelled by the force of the breath

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This is a long, narrow pipe through which darts or other projectiles are blown. Primarily a hunting weapon, a blowgun is rarely used in warfare. It has been used by aboriginal peoples in Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, South India and Sri Lanka, Madagascar, northwest South America, and Central America. Blowguns vary in length from 18 in (45 cm) to more than 23 ft (7 m) and are often made of cane or bamboo. Darts are usually made of palm-leaf midribs or wood or bamboo splinters 1½–40 in (4–100 cm) in length. The dart must fit the tube snugly, so that a puff of human breath will cause it to fly from the tube. To be effective against quarry larger than small birds, poison is added to the darts.

Examples of blowgun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Anthropology professor Terry Castro and a few students meet men of the tribe in the jungle and Castro is accidentally poisoned after handling a dart from a blowgun. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, 16 June 2019 The attacks occurred almost a year to the day after two pedestrians on the Golden Gate Bridge were hit by blowgun darts the afternoon of Feb. 12. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, 17 Feb. 2017 Images posted to social media in recent months appear to show at least two birds going about their lives with blowgun darts embedded in their head and neck. Mike Mcphate, New York Times, 6 June 2017

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

First Known Use of blowgun

1800, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of blowgun was in 1800

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Dictionary Entries Near blowgun

blow gas



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Cite this Entry

“Blowgun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for blowgun


blow·​gun | \ ˈblō-ˌgən How to pronounce blowgun (audio) \

Kids Definition of blowgun

: a tube from which a dart may be shot by the force of the breath

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