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

Noun The guerrillas controlled half the country.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This past weekend, an anonymous guerrilla artist surreptitiously installed a monument honoring York, a black man who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their famed 1804 expedition, at Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Anonymous Artist Installs Bust of York, Enslaved Explorer Who Accompanied Lewis and Clark, in Portland Park," 24 Feb. 2021 The first visit came in Dhofar, a region bordering Yemen that was still gripped by a guerrilla war with Marxist fighters when Sultan Qaboos took power in 1970. Jon Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oman's new sultan quietly carves Gulf nation's way forward," 2 Oct. 2020 Then the controversy shifted into a guerrilla war of signs. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Trump Street’ starts a bitter fight over political signs, and much more, in the Alaska town of Eagle," 26 Sep. 2020 Some, enraged by their failure to overturn the presidential election, have posted manuals on waging guerrilla warfare and building explosive devices. Star Tribune, "Capitol attack could fuel extremist recruitment for years, experts warn," 16 Jan. 2021 Some, enraged by their failure to overturn the presidential election, have posted manuals on waging guerrilla warfare and building explosive devices. New York Times, "Capitol Attack Could Fuel Extremist Recruitment For Years, Experts Warn," 16 Jan. 2021 This is how the Japanese imperialists came to wail in fear of the guerrilla forces and their chukjibeop. Sooyoung Haft, Harpers Magazine, "Grounded in Truth," 5 Jan. 2021 This kind of grass-roots change has been called many things: ad hoc architecture, guerrilla architecture, pop-up architecture, tactical urbanism. Sam Lubell, Los Angeles Times, "14 clever COVID-19 design solutions from around the world," 29 Dec. 2020 Most of the time the guerrilla, vocally chaotic, yuletide chorus has been welcomed with smiles and applauds. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "Stoop caroling, interstate ham, masked St. Nick? New Orleans holiday ideas that are pandemic-proof.," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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, "Points of Progress: Urban rooftop farm bears fruit, and more," 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., "A conversation with Kevin Alexander, author of ‘Burn the Ice: The American Culinary Revolution and its End’ - The Boston Globe," 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, "The Truce," 10 June 2019 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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Time Traveler for guerrilla

Time Traveler

The first known use of guerrilla was in 1809

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Statistics for guerrilla

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guerrilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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