\ 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 Ricard told reporters that the suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March and was not known to intelligence services, had been armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets. Fox News, "Suspect in teacher's beheading in France was Chechen teen," 17 Oct. 2020 The overwhelming majority of these killings stemmed from firearms, with 63 gun deaths accounting for 81% of this year’s homicides. Megan Cassidy,, "East Oakland the epicenter of city’s surge of homicides amid pandemic. ‘The situation is getting worse’," 17 Oct. 2020 That was despite Ardern’s growing international fame and her handling of the Christchurch mosque massacres, which claimed 51 lives and stunned a nation with low rates of gun crime. Washington Post, "Jacinda Ardern rolls to reelection in New Zealand amid global praise for pandemic battle," 17 Oct. 2020 Indictments across the region show Herdman’s office has been quite aggressive on gun charges. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Federal prosecutors in Cleveland tout spike in gun cases, leading some to question Justice Department’s election-year motives," 17 Oct. 2020 Around the same time, police say a man in his 20s showed up to the University of Louisville hospital with multiple gun shot wounds. Matt Mencarini, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville police investigating Saturday shooting that department believe injured two," 17 Oct. 2020 Their responses mirror a nationwide spike in gun sales. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, "About 110,000 Californians have bought a gun since the coronavirus arrived, study says," 17 Oct. 2020 Use both hands to hold the welding gun [6], and brace at least one elbow against your torso. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, "Building This Metal Cart Will Teach You the Basics of Welding," 17 Oct. 2020 Separately, Barr has sent hundreds of federal officers to several cities that are struggling with rising violent crime as part of Operation Legend, a crime-fighting initiative that has led to thousands of arrests, mostly for gun and drug charges. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "Attorney General Barr attacks the media, defund the police movement in speech to law enforcement leaders," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Kadyrov’s circle has also been linked to the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader who was gunned down in 2015 close to the Kremlin. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, "Chechen exile survives suspected assassination attempt after fighting off attacker," 27 Feb. 2020 Courtside Chatter ■ During Saturday’s home game against Hope (R.I.), New Mission honored former student Marquis Allien, who was gunned down on Jan. 23 in Boston. Nate Weitzer,, "After his parting at Cathedral, Larry Merritt gained a new lease at Cristo Rey," 3 Feb. 2020 Worst of all, the rapper Notorious B.I.G., whose birth name was Chris Wallace and who was gunned down in a still-unsolved murder in 1997, finished 13th out of 16 nominees! Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "Rock Hall Class of 2020 is going to raise a lot of hackles, and rightfully so: Chuck Yarborough," 15 Jan. 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.

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

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
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!