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 Uribe’s legal woes are also mingled with frustrations over Colombia’s historic peace accord with leftist guerrillas. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ex-Colombia president questioned on witness tampering," 8 Oct. 2019 Deal Breaker Duque gained notoriety for fierce attacks on Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement with Marxist guerrillas the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Ciara Nugent, Time, "Ivan Duque Is Colombia’s Right Wing Answer to Macron, and He’s Poised to Win the Presidency," 31 May 2018 Israeli police said that militants from the Islamic Jihad group fired 130 projectiles, apparently in retaliation for Israel's killing of three guerrillas on Sunday. Hana Salah,, "Palestinians in Gaza launch biggest rocket barrage in years, then claim they have agreed to cease-fire," 29 May 2018 Its proprietors remember with horror the gun battles that transpired a decade ago as the army fought the guerrillas. Jennie Erin Smith, New York Times, "Stalking the Endangered Wax Palm," 5 Nov. 2019 President Eisenhower had declined France’s request for assistance in suppressing a colonial uprising in the 1950’s, and specifically, France’s mad request for use of an atomic bomb against the Viet Minh Communist guerrillas of Ho Chi Minh. Conrad Black, National Review, "Richard Nixon’s ‘Silent Majority’ Plan," 5 Nov. 2019 The demoralized army abandoned Santa Clara to the guerrillas—and a turning point in the revolt. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019 The 2016 peace deal with the FARC guerrillas that ended Colombia’s 52-year armed conflict is advancing slowly, with the government failing to deliver on some of its promises and dissident rebels recently calling for a return to the battlefield. Cyril Bennouna, The Conversation, "Latin America shuts out desperate Venezuelans but Colombia’s border remains open – for now," 7 Oct. 2019 But as time stretched on, the guerrillas grew increasingly weakened by military bombings and arrests. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Colombia ex-rebels testify on kidnappings at peace tribunal," 23 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guerrilla.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for guerrilla


How to pronounce guerrilla (audio)

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).


to insert between existing elements

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