\ 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Congress prohibited assault-type firearms in 1993 in a ban that expired after a decade, lawmakers’ last sweeping legislation addressing gun violence. Alan Fram,, 21 June 2022 Tuesday's hearing was the first of two days of hearings at the Texas state capitol that will allow members of the public to address lawmakers on gun violence issues. Chuck Lindell, USA TODAY, 21 June 2022 The department faces some significant and pressing challenges, including rampant gun violence, deepening manpower shortages and pushback from officers who oppose certain reform efforts. Lea Skene, Baltimore Sun, 21 June 2022 Wexton has advocated for criminal justice reform, enhancing disability rights, battling the opioid crisis and gun violence prevention, according to her own site. Lisa Bennatan, Fox News, 21 June 2022 The timeline will be presented at Tuesday’s special Texas Senate committee meeting on gun violence and school safety. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 The hearing will serve as the first time that state lawmakers will be able to hear from members of the community about gun violence. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 21 June 2022 In January, Master P was announced as the new special youth adviser to Future Healers and Christopher 2X Game Changers, programs that support Louisville children who have been impacted by gun violence. Brooks Holton, The Courier-Journal, 21 June 2022 May’s school shooting massacre in Uvalde, Texas, has also renewed worries about gun violence, some say. Kathryn Dill, WSJ, 20 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb According to a Washington Post analysis, there have been only two instances two decades where a school resource officer was able to gun down an active shooter. Kimberly Nordyke, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 June 2022 Early reports indicate at least one such weapon possibly was used to gun down students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2022 Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 25 May 2022 Moore chose to gun the unarmed man down, then run away, the prosecutor said. John Lynch, Arkansas Online, 4 May 2022 Kurt has Harrison running through the snow and is just about to gun him down when Dexter/Jim revs toward him, sending him running off instead. Kelly Mcclure, Vulture, 28 Dec. 2021 But days later, authorities say the teen used the weapon to gun down his classmates at Oxford High School. Gina Kaufman, Detroit Free Press, 6 Dec. 2021 Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger challenged Rittenhouse's right to gun down the two victims that night. NBC News, 10 Nov. 2021 Meanwhile, the guards were White, the state troopers dispatched to gun down the inmates were White — and the media covering the uprising was mostly White. Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near gun




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Statistics for gun

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for gun


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on gun

Nglish: Translation of gun for Spanish Speakers

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


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