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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
In 1994, a squad of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a Marxist guerrilla group, failed in a bid to kidnap Mr. Botero. Tim Johnson, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 For far from being an isolated, angry white misfit, Manson gets busy building his own white guerrilla army here in California. Matt Thompson, Spin, 10 Sep. 2023 The guerrillas would force Bassie and other children in the SBU, or Small Boy Unit, to crawl for hours across the highway’s blazing-hot asphalt, skin tearing from the friction and heat. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Aug. 2023 Armed dissident guerrilla groups are a threat for many Indigenous communities in the jungle. Mie Hoejris Dahl, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 June 2023 Then-President Álvaro Uribe, elected on a promise to impose an iron fist against guerrilla groups, named Montoya as army chief in 2006. Diana Durán, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 Covering political turmoil and guerrilla warfare in South and Central America from 1979 to 1983, Mr. Hoge wrote hundreds of articles on the civil wars that had ebbed and flowed in red tides for years in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Robert D. McFadden, New York Times, 24 Aug. 2023 The National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the anti-Taliban guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, has mounted armed resistance in northern Afghanistan, but has been battered by brutal Taliban counterattacks and reprisals against civilians. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 13 Aug. 2023 The Wall Street Journal Colombia's government and the leftist National Liberation Army, or ELN, started a cease-fire Thursday intended to last six months, the longest truce the guerrilla organization has ever accepted. Harold Maass, The Week, 4 Aug. 2023
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 30 Sep. 2023.

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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