guer·​ril·​la | \ gə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce guerrilla (audio) , ge-, g(y)i-\
variants: or guerilla

Definition of guerrilla

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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.



Definition of guerrilla (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Examples of guerrilla in a Sentence


The guerrillas controlled half the country.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the weeks since Duque's resounding victory over leftist ex-guerrilla Gustavo Petro, the president-elect has signaled both his loyalty to Uribe and a conviction to chart his own path. Manuel Rueda, Fox News, "Incoming Colombia president faces long list of challenges," 7 Aug. 2018 North had carried out a scheme to violate the law and funnel arms to anti-communist guerrillas in Nicaragua. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Oliver North and the Creation of Donald Trump," 7 May 2018 The exercise was also notable for its use of tactical missiles for deep strikes and anti-guerrilla operations, which were later put to use in Syria. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia's Summer Wargames Are Making NATO Nervous," 17 July 2017 His term was marked by two wars with Hamas in Gaza and a covert air campaign in Syria against Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Aron Heller, The Seattle Times, "Israeli ex-army chief launches campaign to replace Netanyahu," 29 Jan. 2019 This season, the 27-year-old designer brought his wildly theatric designs to New York instead, disrupting the Fashion Week schedule with a guerrilla exhibition that was set up in an empty storefront on Canal Street earlier this week. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Born in Buffalo and Trained in London, Edwin Mohney Sources the Fabric for His Radical Ball Gowns at Kmart," 16 Feb. 2019 But with those areas no longer under its grip, the extremist group has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots. Nabih Bulos, The Seattle Times, "Baghdad, once a jewel among Arab capitals, is barely functional," 28 Jan. 2019 Bell envisioned a whole family of systems that used jet turbines to propel American fighting men into the air—where they could be easily shot down by guerrillas with rifles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Troops Could Have Fought the Vietnam War With Jetpacks," 1 Aug. 2018 Last month, Kardashian West debuted unreleased Yeezy pieces guerrilla-style with her sister Kylie and also made her grand return to Paris Fashion Week, donning Virgil Abloh’s inaugural men’s collection for Louis Vuitton. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Reveals a New Yeezy Look: Spandex and Slouchy Boots," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Maybe a little too guerrilla style for some of the crews. Gary Thompson,, "Tommy Chong: 'The whole reason for making marijuana illegal was to prosecute black and brown people'," 5 Apr. 2018 Her interviews were guerrilla achievements and global events. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "The Life of Oriana Fallaci, Guerrilla Journalist," 16 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guerrilla.' 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 guerrilla


1809, in the meaning defined above


1811, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for guerrilla

Noun and Adjective

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

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Statistics for guerrilla

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for guerrilla

The first known use of guerrilla was in 1809

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More Definitions for guerrilla



English Language Learners Definition of guerrilla

: a member of a usually small group of soldiers who do not belong to a regular army and who fight in a war as an independent unit


variants: or guerilla \ gə-​ˈri-​lə \

Kids Definition of guerrilla

: a member of a group carrying on warfare but not part of a regular army

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Comments on guerrilla

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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