\ 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
5 : throttle
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. The 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

arm, firearm, heat [slang], piece, small arm

Synonyms: Verb

drill, plug, pop, shoot

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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


a gun battle between gang members and the police She claimed that the gun went off accidentally.


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

Later, federal prosecutors also charged him as a felon with a gun, and he was given three more years in prison. David G. Savage,, "On an often unpredictable Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch is the latest wild card," 12 July 2019 Same goes for young people who live in a house with a gun. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Teens are increasingly depressed, anxious, and suicidal. How can we help?," 11 July 2019 Morales obtained a civil protection order against Almazan a month before her death, after several abusive attacks in which Almazan threatened her life with a gun and a machete. Kaylee Remington,, "Cleveland quadruple homicide is latest example in long line of restraining orders failing to protect women from abusers," 11 July 2019 Security surveillance video showed two men approaching the store and once inside, one of them taking aim at the clerk with a gun. Tonya Alanez,, "Gas station clerk who shot and killed a robber ‘not facing charges’," 11 July 2019 Cook left after the fight, but then returned to the Rosewood Court residents with a gun, according to police records. Cameron Knight,, "Police: Fight over woman led to man shooting his roommate," 9 July 2019 Additionally, more than 85% of black homicide victims are shot and killed with guns. Ericka Claudio, Teen Vogue, "Cory Booker Says His 2020 Gun Violence Prevention Program Is Focused on Community Resources," 9 July 2019 In 2010 he was arrested after breaking into a Connecticut bank at night with a loaded gun in his possession. New York Times, "Rip Torn, an Outsize Presence Onstage and Off, Is Dead at 88," 9 July 2019 Oh, and by the way, there is going to be a man with a gun sitting outside all night. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Michelle Obama jokes she's 'surprised' daughters have friends after White House childhood," 8 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Norment is married to a lobbyist for the city of Virginia Beach, where a municipal worker gunned down his co-workers in a mass shooting. Washington Post, "The Latest: Virginia GOP: Panel should review gun issues," 10 July 2019 The Texas City catcher immediately gunned a throw down to second base, a base that didn’t have a fielder anywhere near the bag. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "League City National All-Stars at doorstep to District 14 title; NASA All-Stars raise win streak to four," 29 June 2019 Moments before Nipsey Hussle was gunned down in front of his Marathon Clothing store, the famed rapper had a final exchange with his alleged shooter. Joelle Goldstein,, "Nipsey Hussle's Last Words Were to His Killer as the Rapper Was Kicked as He Lay Bleeding: D.A.," 28 June 2019 In Orlando, the owner of the Pulse nightclub plans to make the site into a museum and a memorial to the 49 people gunned down there in 2016. Kathleen Foody, Fortune, "'They Want to Experience It.' Why Columbine Might Be Demolished 20 Years After School Shooting," 14 June 2019 Morris, 46, of the city of McHenry, gunned down Jouravleff, 52, at after Jouravleff answered a knock at his front door, prosecutors said. Amanda Marrazzo,, "'You are getting off easy,' wife says at McHenry County sentencing of 2 men convicted in husband's shooting death," 6 June 2019 Madonna made a powerful statement against gun violence in her new music video by showing a graphic sequence of partiers being gunned down in a nightclub, reminiscent of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando where 49 people were killed. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Parkland survivor Emma González slams Madonna's 'God Control' video as 'triggering'," 14 May 2019 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:09 Scene where grandmother is gunned down Advertisement An grandmother in her mid-60s was killed in her Eatonville home early Monday during a drive-by shooting, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Crystal Hill, star-telegram, "Teens stole woman’s car, cops say. Police found her decomposing body in her garage," 26 June 2018 Leon D’Shawn Bennett, also known as the rapper Lee Kahn, was gunned down along the street outside the restaurant, the Florida Times-Union reported. Doug Phillips,, "Aspiring north Florida rapper fatally shot, reports say," 25 June 2018

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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Learn More about gun

Dictionary Entries near gun

gum up the works







Statistics for gun

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gun

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

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More Definitions for gun



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gun

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

Comments on gun

What made you want to look up gun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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