\ 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 gun (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 At that point, Brown grabbed his own gun and placed it in his lap, prosecutors said. Rosemary Sobol,, "Kayden Swann, 1, shot on Lake Shore Drive, out of medically induced coma Saturday, doctors announced," 10 Apr. 2021 Shepley holstered his gun and reached into the vehicle to switch the engine off. Washington Post, "Kansas Senate majority leader led a drunken police chase, called an officer ‘donut boy,’ authorities say," 9 Apr. 2021 Then, Rolling came back with his own gun and shot his father in the face, state attorney Smith said. Glenn Ruppel, ABC News, "How a woman in Louisiana helped break the case of 5 student murders in Florida," 8 Apr. 2021 Police officer was shot by an unknown person during the riots and saved by his belt buckle when the bullet hit his gun and ricocheted into his body armor. The Enquirer, "History lesson: Civil unrest in downtown Cincinnati was 20 years ago. Here's what happened.," 8 Apr. 2021 Addressing reporters at the Sycamore Park and Ride, a parking lot with bus stops near the site of the shooting, Burris displayed large still frames from the video that showed the position of the two men before and after Hall fired his gun. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Family of Tyrell Wilson sues Danville over fatal police shooting," 6 Apr. 2021 An officer pursuing Adam fired his gun once, striking him in the chest., "Chicago to release video of deadly police shooting of a 13-year-old," 5 Apr. 2021 Scoping in with your gun causes a drop in performance. Paul Tassi, Forbes, "‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Patch 1.2 Mostly Helped PS4 Pro, But Other Consoles Lag Behind," 5 Apr. 2021 The officer — only identified by police as a two-year veteran at the department — then fired his gun at the man, Williams said. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, "Man suspected of armed robbery fatally shot by police near 75th Avenue, Indian School Road," 4 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As security forces gun down peaceful protesters on city streets, the violence that is commonplace in the countryside serves as a grisly reminder of the military’s long legacy of atrocities. New York Times, "‘It’s Better to Walk Through a Minefield’: Victims of Myanmar’s Army Speak," 9 Mar. 2021 Young men gun their cars to speeds over 100 mph, often on long straight corridors such as Military Drive, Bandera and Culebra roads and sometimes on freeways. Bruce Selcraig,, "San Antonio’s street racing now fueled by parties and social media — but most charges in an ambitious police crackdown were tossed," 27 Nov. 2020 Other drivers speed up and gun their motors in apparent opposition to the views expressed. Donna Engle,, "Legal Matters: Constitution doesn’t provide specific remedy for police violence against individuals | COMMENTARY," 7 Nov. 2020 Dubon, playing center field, also made a costly throw when trying to gun down Nick Ahmed at third base after fielding Josh Rojas’ single, but Ahmed was safe and Rojas scooted to second. John Shea,, "Giants waste golden opportunities in 6-5 loss to Diamondbacks," 4 Sep. 2020 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

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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on gun

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