\ ˈgən \

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 \ adjective

Synonyms for gun

Synonyms: Noun

arm, firearm, piece, small arm

Synonyms: Verb

drill, 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

The teen, who is not identified by name because his a juvenile, was charged with possessing the gun and some of the cannabis, police said in the release. Pioneer Press,, "Loaded gun, bags of marijuana recovered during traffic stop in Evanston: Police," 13 July 2018 Then the teen pulled a gun on Jenkins and fatally shot him, according to DeKalb County police. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "Decatur man offered teen a job. Then the teen fatally shot him, police say," 12 July 2018 Privacy - Terms Once officers arrived, the suspect, identified by Tallahassee police as Jason White, was found with the .40 caliber gun and other goods from Academy Sports. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "A man stole a gun from a store, cops say. But what a manager did next got him fired.," 12 July 2018 But, after getting the gun and ammunition from the seller’s trunk, Dunham fled, police said. Jeff Weiner,, "AR-15 owner listed gun for sale online — then was robbed by felon 'buyer,' cops say," 10 July 2018 Bloodthirsty white men with guns and Klan gear? Check., "Why People Either Really Love Or Hate The Purge Movies," 3 July 2018 Police say the man who took it had passed out inside holding a gun. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "For many in Anchorage, getting a stolen car back means cleaning up a grotesque mess left behind," 29 June 2018 There wasn’t anybody standing over her with a gun and a knife. Jeff Maysh, Smithsonian, "The Counterfeit Queen of Soul," 28 June 2018 An Elgin man was arrested on drug and weapon charges Thursday after the police raided his home and found cannabis, hand guns and 480 rounds of ammunition, Elgin police said. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin man charged after pot, guns, 480 rounds of ammo found during raid, police say," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The newspaper clipping about her husband, gunned down by gangs in Honduras. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "‘If we’re all together, I can handle it’," 9 July 2018 Citizens are being indiscriminately gunned down by Ortega police and trained paramilitaries. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Russia in Central America, Again," 8 July 2018 Men and women gunned down by police officers are just as important as everyday workers in their jobs. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "'My heart is heavy for Detroit': City rallies against gun violence," 1 June 2018 As police arrested her and 23 others, Dzurinko held aloft a sign with the name of Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, a 20-year-old woman recently gunned down by U.S. Border Patrol agents in South Texas. Will Bunch,, "'Poor' is a 4-letter word in U.S. politics. These activists are fighting to change that | Will Bunch," 31 May 2018 Meanwhile, a Russian journalist called Arkady Babchenko was gunned down in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday. David Meyer, Fortune, "The U.S. Investor Behind the Magnitsky Act Says He’s Been Arrested in Spain on a Russian Interpol Warrant," 30 May 2018 Jesse and Noah were among the 20 first-grade students gunned down inside the school in Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012. CBS News, "Sandy Hook families file lawsuits against Infowars' Alex Jones," 17 Apr. 2018 The name of a young man gunned down Saturday in western Jefferson County has now been released. Carol Robinson,, "21-year-old man gunned down in western Jefferson County was targeted, authorities say," 16 Jan. 2018 After Maurizio Gucci was gunned down on the red marble floor of his Milanese office building early on March 27, 1995, the question was not just why he had been killed but who — among his enemies — had gone through with committing his murder? Adam Carlson,, "Hit Man in the House of Gucci: Behind the Twisted Murder Plot That Brought Down a Fashion Mogul," 12 July 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

11 Sep 2018

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)

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

: to throw (something) very hard


\ ˈgən \

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

What made you want to look up gun? 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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