guer·ril·la | \ gə-ˈri-lə , 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

The deal will see Mr. Machar, the veteran guerrilla fighter turned opposition leader as one of four new vice presidents based in new regional capitals, part of a revitalized transitional government deal to end the conflict. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, "South Sudan’s Exiled Former Vice President Offered Power-Sharing Deal," 8 July 2018 Other rebels, however, said that Sison's recommendation would still have to be approved by other guerrilla leaders. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Philippines wants rebels 'encamped' in fixed areas for talks," 4 July 2018 Since a revolt broke out two months ago, the former Marxist guerrilla leader has lost control over most of the country, including this city 17 miles south of the capital Managua. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Barricades and Empty Streets: Nicaragua’s Leader Loses Control," 18 June 2018 Many accused of war crimes have avoided prison, and past guerrilla fighters now sit in the Colombia congress. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Populist Conservative Iván Duque Elected President of Colombia," 18 June 2018 When former Colombian guerrilla leader Seuxis Hernandez was arrested in April for plotting to traffic 10 tons of cocaine to the U.S., his fate became tied to that of his country’s fragile peace deal. Ciara Nugent, Time, "How a Former Guerrilla Leader’s U.S. Extradition Threatens Colombia’s Fragile Peace," 25 May 2018 After Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s brutal repression of youth protests that left at least 46 dead, even his fellow former leftist guerrilla leaders — including his own brother — say that his authoritarian regime is unsustainable. Andrés Oppenheimer, miamiherald, "Ortega’s repressive regime cannot survive — even his younger brother, a former Sandinista leader, says so | Miami Herald," 5 May 2018 Raised in Bulawayo in the 1970s, at the height of the Rhodesian bush war that brought the guerrilla leader Robert Mugabe to power, Mr. Lendrum began climbing into Matobo’s hard-to-reach nests as a boy. Joshua Hammer, New York Times, "A Birder’s Paradise in Zimbabwe," 18 Apr. 2018 Many fear Duque will be a puppet of Uribe, a politician known for his strength and harsh tactics against guerrilla rebels. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Populist Conservative Iván Duque Elected President of Colombia," 18 June 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


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


see guerrilla entry 1

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Statistics for guerrilla

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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