gun·​pow·​der | \ ˈgən-ˌpau̇-dər How to pronounce gunpowder (audio) \

Definition of gunpowder

: an explosive mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur used in gunnery and blasting broadly : any of various powders used in guns as propelling charges

Examples of gunpowder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Tejo players take turns tossing disks underhanded and score points by hitting the bull's-eye—a metal ring in the center of a clay pit—or the gunpowder packets that surround it. John Otis, WSJ, "Colombia Wants to Boost Its National Sport. That Might Mean Less Beer.," 4 Dec. 2018 Unlike conventional guns that use chemical energy (gunpowder) to force a projectile out of a barrel and towards a target, railguns rely on electromagnetism. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China’s Railgun Has Reportedly Gone to Sea," 31 Dec. 2018 The gunpowder's absence had been a red flag on the second day of the investigation, Meunier testified. Michelle Hunter,, "JPSO told Ronald Gasser evidence didn't back his story in road rage killing," 24 Jan. 2018 Smelling the gunpowder and seeing the smoke, and seeing the red on the floor and having flesh and body matter in my hair. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "As a Parkland Shooting Survivor, This Is What I Want Brett Kavanaugh to Know About Gun Violence," 7 Sep. 2018 Matt had reportedly filled a mason jar with gunpowder and cannon fuse, then put it in his refrigerator. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "‘Alaskan Bush People' Cast: How Well Do You Know the Brown Family?," 23 Sep. 2018 And that more gunpowder was used to blast rock into the formation that Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "‘Central Park Love Song’," 28 June 2018 In 1733, the ruling shogun placated his people by supplying gunpowder for a show above the Sumida River in modern Tokyo. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "'Fire Flowers' Dazzle in Gorgeous Photos of Japanese Fireworks," 4 July 2018 The patties have a crispy exterior and are topped with caramelized onions, tamarind chutney and a side of ghee and gunpowder spices that diners mix together to add richness and fire to the blend. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Best burgers in the Bay Area from the 2018 Top 100 restaurants," 12 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for gunpowder

The first known use of gunpowder was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of gunpowder

: a dry explosive substance that is used in guns and to break open sections of rock or earth for mining, building roads, etc.


gun·​pow·​der | \ ˈgən-ˌpau̇-dər How to pronounce gunpowder (audio) \

Kids Definition of gunpowder

: an explosive powder used in guns and blasting

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More from Merriam-Webster on gunpowder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gunpowder

Spanish Central: Translation of gunpowder

Nglish: Translation of gunpowder for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on gunpowder

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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