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 In the subway, a clanking metaphor of New Yorkers’ common yet separate journeys, whole cars and station passageways seemed to pass rhythmically in and out of civil authority, like provinces in a country gripped by a guerrilla war. Jim Sleeper, The New Republic, 16 June 2022 Parks is the bridge between the civil rights generation and many of today’s social justice agitators — the selfie takers, the guerrilla street photographers and credentialed veterans. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 The left-leaning Presidents of Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia also came, as did the Colombian Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 The group was never as large or as violent as the country’s main guerrilla force, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. New York Times, 26 May 2022 The front-runner is a one-time leftist guerrilla who won’t disavow his past and who vows to launch a radical economic upheaval. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 3 June 2022 Gustavo Petro, a leftist former guerrilla, took the most votes in the first round of Colombia’s presidential election. WSJ, 30 May 2022 Instead of the conservative standard-bearer, voters favored Gustavo Petro, 62, a left-wing senator and former guerrilla, who received about 40% of votes, according to official results. Conor Finnegan, ABC News, 30 May 2022 Polls show Petro, a 62-year-old senator and former guerrilla member, in the lead. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 24 May 2022 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, 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 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.

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

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The first known use of guerrilla was in 1809

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Last Updated

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Guerrilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for guerrilla


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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