\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gun


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

Synonyms for gun

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Do people who live in smart states buy home security systems and guns while people who live in dumb states simply settle for one, the other or neither? Phillip Morris, cleveland, "Where is Mason Rudolph’s helmet when we need it? — Phillip Morris," 1 Dec. 2019 Beyond the standard soda gun, non-drinkers were pretty much out of luck. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "The Best Things Restaurants Did in 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 In the eight years since Trayvon Martin, then 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., Kerr has built a relationship with Fulton, who has become a leading voice for gun legislation in the United States. Connor Letourneau,, "Steve Kerr hosts late Trayvon Martin’s family at Warriors-Heat game," 30 Nov. 2019 Chief Gallagher saw the distant explosion from an armored gun truck. New York Times, "Trump’s Intervention in SEALs Case Tests Pentagon’s Tolerance," 30 Nov. 2019 These are really easy, that don’t affect anybody’s gun rights. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "'Story just had to be told': Slain Capital Gazette journalist's widow finishes his book," 30 Nov. 2019 The nine-day gun deer season opened Nov. 23 and runs through Sunday. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Deer hunter mistakenly kills two elk in northern Wisconsin," 29 Nov. 2019 Video shows people running from an area near a downtown Cincinnati bar where gun shots were heard early Friday morning. Briana Rice,, "Police ID deceased victim in downtown Cincinnati shooting," 29 Nov. 2019 Jurors were also shown a BB gun and a folding knife, which police believe also may have been used in the crime. CBS News, ""Payback – HE KILLED MY WIFE" written on wall where doctors found dead, detective testifies," 28 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Acosta was on the phone with his wife in Mexico when he was gunned down in Salinas. Chelcey Adami, USA TODAY, "2 murder suspects escape California jail. See them? Call 911, authorities say," 4 Nov. 2019 The family of a black woman shot and killed by a white police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, early Saturday says the 28-year-old woman was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew when she was gunned down in the family home. San Diego Union-Tribune, "10 Things to Know for Today," 14 Oct. 2019 Day’Von was six weeks away from starting 10th grade at Lincoln High School in San Francisco when somebody gunned him down. Heather Knight,, "Scared for her own safety, SF mother whose son was slain gets caught in housing nightmare," 14 Sep. 2019 Clark's family initially sought $20 million through a federal civil rights lawsuit against Sacramento and the two officers who gunned him down. CBS News, "Stephon Clark's two young sons to get $2.4 million from Sacramento," 6 Sep. 2019 The 17-year-old then allegedly chased Fantroy before gunning her down. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Black Trans Woman Shot And Killed In Miami, Suspect Arrested," 9 Aug. 2019 Rory gunned the engine, pounded the horn, and nosed the HiAce forward until the animals began to lumber out of the way. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 That includes the dead G-Man and the desperado who gunned him down, the outlaw eventually swinging from a noose in downtown Indianapolis while a bloodthirsty crowd cheered on Alabama Street. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: One high school gym, two states, and the midcourt stripe has a secret," 3 July 2019 One of their members, Joseph Wesbecker, had gunned down seven Standard Gravure workers — four of them fellow union members — and wounded 13 others, including four union members, before killing himself., "Standard Gravure remembered: Here are all the victims from the 1989 mass shooting," 12 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gun

Time Traveler for gun

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gun

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gun.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


delight or enjoyment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!