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guer·​ril·​la gə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce guerrilla (audio)
variants or guerilla
: a person who engages in irregular warfare especially as a member of an independent unit carrying out harassment and sabotage (see sabotage sense 2)
Guerrillas controlled half the country.


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: of, relating to, or suggestive of guerrillas especially in being aggressive, radical, or unconventional
guerrilla warfare

Examples of guerrilla in a Sentence

Noun The guerrillas controlled half the country.
Recent Examples on the Web
Following a guerrilla war in 1980 which led to Zimbabwe’s independence, Mugabe came to power and mounted a brutal crackdown against his opponents, notably as his government was accused of killing tens of thousands of ethnic Ndebele people during the Gukurahundi massacres. George Ramsay, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 For decades, confrontations between the government, left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups and drug cartels limited the places scientists could visit and study. Santiago Flórez, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Feb. 2024 The British have thrown the Palestine question into the lap of the U.N. for that reason and also because Jewish guerrillas were killing their soldiers. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Following the 2016 peace accord between the government and the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest and oldest guerrilla group on the continent), there was hope that researchers could explore new regions all across the country. Santiago Flórez, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Feb. 2024 Pablo Escobar’s personal photographer confronts the drug lord’s complicated legacy One of the most high-profile kidnappings was of the father of Liverpool soccer player Luis Díaz, who was held hostage for more than a week by the ELN guerrilla group. Diana Durán, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2024 On June 27, 1976, two Palestinians affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two Germans from a guerrilla group called the Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France flight carrying some two hundred and forty passengers from Tel Aviv to Paris after a stopover in Athens. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 14 Jan. 2024 Over the course of some three decades, Joseph Kony recruited thousands of child soldiers to serve in his fearsome guerrilla group. Sophie Neiman, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Jan. 2024 In Yemen, Saudi Arabia met with a fate common to large powers confronting guerrilla forces abroad. Hussein Ibish, The Atlantic, 24 Jan. 2024
She became known as a muse of desbunde, an anti-military but also anti-guerrilla nonconformist zeitgeist. Phil Davison, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2022 The attacks have prompted Moscow to send anti-guerrilla units to Kherson, Mr. Saldo said. Yuras Karmanau and Hanna Arhirova, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Aug. 2022 Experts say ex-guerrilla fighters, who once occupied the most remote parts of Colombia’s jungles, forests, mountains, and savannas, are uniquely prepared to aid scientists with ongoing conservation efforts. Lindsey McGinnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Aug. 2020 That was the year that social media really started to take off, which gave restaurants and bars this megaphone to kind of guerrilla market on their own., 11 Sep. 2019 Paolo Luers, a journalist and former guerrilla press officer who became part of Mijango’s team, told me. Daniel Castro, Harper's magazine, 10 June 2019 Maybe a little too guerrilla style for some of the crews. Gary Thompson,, 5 Apr. 2018 Her interviews were guerrilla achievements and global events. Dwight Garner, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'guerrilla.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Adjective

Spanish guerrilla, from diminutive of guerra war, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German werra strife — more at war

First Known Use


1809, in the meaning defined above


1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of guerrilla was in 1809

Dictionary Entries Near guerrilla

Cite this Entry

“Guerrilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants or guerilla
: a member of a band of persons engaged in warfare not as part of a regular army but as an independent unit making surprise raids behind enemy lines
guerrilla adjective


from Spanish guerrilla, literally, "small war," from guerra "war"

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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