\ ˈgən How to pronounce gun (audio) \

Definition of gun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a piece of ordnance usually with high muzzle velocity and comparatively flat trajectory
b : a portable firearm (such as a rifle or handgun)
c : a device that throws a projectile
2a : a discharge of a gun especially as a salute or signal
b : a signal marking a beginning or ending
3a : hunter
b : gunman
4 : something suggesting a gun in shape or function
6 slang : a person's arm specifically : an arm that has well-defined muscles usually plural Conor was spotted rowing away from The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park Saturday with his girlfriend, Dee Devlin, and their cute son, Conor Jr. The famous fighter showed off his guns while handling the oars for his crew. TMZ.comThe Heisman Trophy-winning and former NFL quarterback worked the stage the way he probably jabs through the weight room—whilst checking out his guns in the mirror … — Tory Barron
under the gun
: under pressure or attack


gunned; gunning

Definition of gun (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fire on
b : shoot gunned down by a hit man
2a : to open up the throttle of so as to increase speed gun the engine
b : fire sense 3b gunned the ball to first base

intransitive verb

: to hunt with a gun
gun for
: to aim at or go after with determination or effort

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Other Words from gun


gunned \ ˈgənd How to pronounce gunned (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for gun

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Did You Know?

A ballista (a large missile-thrower in the form of a crossbow) that defended Windsor Castle in the 14th century was named in Latin Domina Gunilda, or “Lady Gunilda.” Gunilda is an Old Norse name and is a compound of gunnr and hildr, both words meaning “battle.” The English may have learned the name from early Norsemen who knew its etymological significance, or its use by the English may have been a coincidence. However, the use of this name for the Windsor ballista was not an isolated incident. Gonnylyde was the name of a cannon in a 14th century song. Our word gun, which also traces back to the 14th century, is probably a shortening of Gunilda.

Examples of gun in a Sentence

Noun a gun battle between gang members and the police She claimed that the gun went off accidentally. Verb She let the car coast down the hill, then gunned it. The shortstop gunned the ball to first base.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After the starting gun, runners eventually separate, but the beginning of the race bunches up entire teams. Alex Harrison, The Enquirer, "Contact sport or not, what will keep high school cross country runners safe in 2020?," 6 Aug. 2020 His open letter to Robert Kennedy helped persuade the senator to run for president, and Hamill was one of a handful of people who wrestled the gun away from Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan in 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Thalia Beaty, Star Tribune, "Pete Hamill, legendary New York columnist and novelist, dies," 5 Aug. 2020 The Richmond Heights man had left the gun in the car, which is owned by the woman. cleveland, "Awful contents found in package left outside store for employee: Lyndhurst police blotter," 5 Aug. 2020 During a weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State coach Ryan Day mixed it up after Harbaugh accused the Buckeyes of jumping the gun on working with players. Mark Heim |, al, "Jim Harbaugh accuses Ryan Day, who returns fire, during Big Ten conference call, per report," 5 Aug. 2020 Mason's mother came to their house while the group tried to figure out what to do, the affidavit said, and while Mason and her mother were talking, Rodriguez took his mother-in-law's car and allegedly got rid of the gun. Ashley Boucher,, "Wife of Man Charged with Murder of Florida Burger King Employee Also Arrested," 5 Aug. 2020 The same field gun in 20 gauge might bring over $2000. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "How Browning Changed the Way We Think About Shotguns," 4 Aug. 2020 Gerardo Gonzalez, 19, who owned the gun is charged with being an accessory after the fact, and with child abuse for putting the teen girl in danger. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New details emerge in fatal Carlsbad shooting," 3 Aug. 2020 The league is a little bit under the gun to get the tournament finished because District 14 has set aside Aug. 8-9 for a two-day district championship tournament. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "League City Little League playoffs starting to thin out the combatants," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb San Francisco police arrested two people in connection with with last week’s fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man who was gunned down in the city’s Portola neighborhood, officials said Wednesday. Megan Cassidy,, "San Francisco police arrest 2 in connection to fatal shooting in Portola neighborhood," 13 May 2020 In just four days, a GoFundMe for the Family Dollar security guard who was gunned down after turning a woman away for not wearing a mask has raised $342,000 over its goal. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "GoFundMe for Flint security guard killed over mask conflict raises $342K over goal," 7 May 2020 The Russian Embassy changed its official address to avoid the reference to Nemtsov, who was gunned down near the Kremlin in 2015. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Prague mayor under police protection amid reports of Russian assassination plot," 27 Apr. 2020 Among the mourners was 25-year-old Derrick Marks who, just hours later, was fatally gunned down in a separate shooting in Irondale. Carol Robinson |, al, "Deadly shooting at Center Point barber shop ruled justifiable," 28 Feb. 2020 Kadyrov’s circle has also been linked to the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader who was gunned down in 2015 close to the Kremlin. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, "Chechen exile survives suspected assassination attempt after fighting off attacker," 27 Feb. 2020 Courtside Chatter ■ During Saturday’s home game against Hope (R.I.), New Mission honored former student Marquis Allien, who was gunned down on Jan. 23 in Boston. Nate Weitzer,, "After his parting at Cathedral, Larry Merritt gained a new lease at Cristo Rey," 3 Feb. 2020 Worst of all, the rapper Notorious B.I.G., whose birth name was Chris Wallace and who was gunned down in a still-unsolved murder in 1997, finished 13th out of 16 nominees! Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "Rock Hall Class of 2020 is going to raise a lot of hackles, and rightfully so: Chuck Yarborough," 15 Jan. 2020 In a teaser for the new project, such artists as Billie Eilish, Craig Xen and Trippie Redd paid homage to XXX, who was gunned down in a robbery gone wrong June 18, 2018, outside Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach. Madeleine Marr,, "Slain rapper XXXTentacion has a new album ‘Bad Vibes Forever’ coming out," 22 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gun.' 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 gun


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1622, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for gun


Middle English gonne, gunne

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Time Traveler for gun

Time Traveler

The first known use of gun was in the 14th century

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Statistics for gun

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for gun


How to pronounce gun (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a weapon that shoots bullets or shells
: a tool or device that looks like a gun



English Language Learners Definition of gun (Entry 2 of 2)

US : to cause (a car or a car's engine) to go very fast by pressing the accelerator
US : to throw (something) very hard


\ ˈgən How to pronounce gun (audio) \

Kids Definition of gun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a weapon that fires bullets or shells
2 : cannon
3 : something like a gun in shape or function a glue gun
4 : a discharge of a gun The runners waited for the gun.


gunned; gunning

Kids Definition of gun (Entry 2 of 2)

: to open the throttle of quickly so as to increase speed gun the engine

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More from Merriam-Webster on gun

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gun

Spanish Central: Translation of gun

Nglish: Translation of gun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gun for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gun

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